August 5, 2014

In late Fall of 2012 a long time pet industry insider drafted an rfp in search of help to bring sustainability to his new and quickly growing pet company.

With a lifelong passion for the environment, Christopher Bentley saw an opportunity to strengthen his brand while doing right by his now teenage daughter, whose opportunities will be defined by the planet she has to work with.

His company had developed a “Green Team” made of sustainability champions within the company who shared his passion. However, this Green Team didn’t have the systems in place to drive continuous change and eventually staff interest dwindled as workloads increased leaving little time for “extras.”

But this isn’t the end of the story, just last week “I and love and you” met with the Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition to revamp a new team that will build in a system of accountability, access the Pet Industry Sustainability Toolkit and strategically integrate sustainability as it builds momentum through each success.

This is a common story that the Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition hears frequently. The story is this: A company starts tackling sustainability projects that have a quick ROI and provide employees with inspirational activities that improve their job satisfaction.

This particular company went further; they bought wind offsets for their energy use, kept their sourcing within the USA, decreased packaging waste and tried to build in incentives to keep their employees engaged.

For some companies it makes sense to have a top down mandate that encourages all staff to perform around sustainability goals. Other companies need a bottom-up approach whereby the employees develop programs that interest them and prove sustainability as a viable cost effective strategy.
Some companies hire a sustainability director who can drive sustainability programs on a daily basis but the trend is evolving toward an integrated sustainability strategy that becomes a piece of everyone’s job.

The Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition invites you to work with our team of nonprofit partners that have a long track record of helping businesses overcome issues like these and many others. It is our goal to accelerate the rate of sustainability improvements in the pet industry. This means establishing the biggest opportunities and risks for each of our members and then building a customized roadmap on how to move forward under whatever restriction each member faces.
Perhaps this seems vague, and, well, sustainability is kind of like that. Until you sit down and figure out how the concept of sustainability correlates to your idea of success, it will continue to lurk in the distance. We will do our very best to bring you tangible stories of what sustainability looks like for a variety of pet companies and we hope that you will grasp this opportunity to engage in one of the most important issues of our time.

-Caitlyn Bolton

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