By Kendra Barnett, Associate Editor

June 3, 2022 | 4 min read

PepsiCo-owned plant-based protein drink Evolve is rolling out a new initiative meant to deepen its commitment to evolve what sustainability looks like — in the form of plant-based protein, eco-friendly packaging and greener urban spaces.

Vegan protein shake brand Evolve has debuted a new initiative designed to protect the environment and provide access to the outdoors for all people. The ‘Plant-Based for the Outdoors’ commitment includes three key focus areas: updating product packaging to include more plant-based materials, using sustainably-raised peas to power Evolve protein shakes and teaming up with nonprofit organization One Tree Planted to make urban areas like New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago more green. The push coincides with World Environment Day on June 5.

Each of the commitment’s three pillars helps to protect the environment in unique ways. Evolve drinks will now include a TetraPak biomaterials-based cap made from sugarcane that has a lower carbon footprint than petroleum-based alternatives. The brand is also updating its TetraPak carton packaging to a version made with paperboard and other bio-based materials, which means that the majority of the carton is made of plant-based layers.

By focusing on pea-based protein moving forward, Anuj Bhasin, vice-president of protein and fitness Brands at PepsiCo. explains that Evolve is helping to improve soil quality. “Growing peas helps to build healthy soil by returning much needed nitrogen back into the ground,” he says. “Healthy soil builds better resilience to pests, erosion, disease and extreme weather.”

In its new partnership with One Tree Planted, Evolve has promised to plant $100,000 worth of trees in cities including Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago. “We are planting trees in areas that need them, which is important because planting the right species of trees can have a positive impact in improving air quality, decreasing urban heat and fostering biodiversity,” says Bhasin. The program kicked off last month in New York City’s Highbridge Park, where Evolve hosted an event to plant American Chestnut trees alongside the Harlem river. The idea is to help turn what was once an illegal dumping ground into a green space that can beautify the neighborhood while also reducing urban temperatures in the future. Another project is based at the Big Marsh Park area in Chicago.

People at tree-planting event with Evolve in New York City

For consumers who live outside of Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, Evolve is incentivizing involvement. The brand is inviting people to help protect their outdoor spaces in whatever way they like — whether that means starting a composting program, volunteering in a local garden or something else. Participants can share their efforts on social media for a chance to win $10,000 to be used for their community initiative. For every entry to the contest, Evolve has pledged to donate $1 to One Tree Planted, up to $5,000.

To raise awareness around the commitment and promote its plant-based beverages, Evolve has also unveiled a new ad campaign today. Created in partnership with Big Spaceship, the campaign is led by a 20-second spot explaining all the ways that Evolve is, well, evolving sustainability.

"For a brand that believes that the outside brings out your best side, it was clear from the start that we needed to find a way to bring that happy outside feeling to the places where it was needed most,” explains Big Spaceship creative director Kristen Kriisa. She says that it was a priority that the campaign and the partnership developed with One Tree Planted “have both an environmental and human impact.”

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