Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

4 Pet Brands Offer Insights on Sustainability


Image by annca from Pixabay

Since 2013, the Pet Sustainability Coalition (PSC) has inspired and educated hundreds of  companies to start or strengthen their sustainability program, leading to bottom line savings and top line growth. PSC strengthens the already existing and thriving core sustainability framework built in their DNA. Operating one’s business in an environmentally and ethical manner can be rewarding to one’s conscious; however, there are other benefits for businesses with sustainability programs. With that in mind, four industry executives from leading sustainable brands within PSC’s rapidly growing member community share insights about the return to their business and where they see the future of sustainability headed for the pet industry. 

Marty Grosjean, CEO of Only Natural Pet in Boulder, Colo., PSC founding member since 2013

Business Case Insight: Employee Engagement and Retention

Employees are attracted to working for our company. Most of the people who work here share the same values and practice sustainability in their own lives. Even those who didn’t when they started now resonate [with] and appreciate the company going down that path.

Where do you see the future of sustainability?

Despite the headlines and social media, the world is becoming a better place from an environmental and sustainability perspective, and there’s no arguing that things are moving in the right direction, not fast enough and there are hiccups of course, but I am very optimistic.

Rebecca Rose, president of In Clover in Boulder, Colo., PSC member since 2016

Business Case Insight: Foundational Integration 

It’s so much deeper and requires more thought than just having recycling bins in your office. If you can commit to that kind of foundational change, your bottom line will improve significantly in a way that you can’t anticipate today. By working with companies who are leading that challenge, you’ll be able to see ways you can improve your business that you didn’t think of previously. Keep an open mind. Go up 50,000 feet, put on your executive cap and look down at how that equation balances as a whole, because it has to make sense to your bottom line, and it has to be a good business decision.

Where do you see the future of sustainability?

“Collaborate” is our word for 2020. We want to collaborate with as many companies in this industry as we can. We want to look at how we can improve the community, people and planet in a bigger way. There is so much we can do ourselves, and we are on track, but in order to grow we need to breathe the word out there further.

Spencer Williams, CEO of West Paw in Bozeman, Mont., PSC founding member since 2013

Business Case Insight: Community

When you have a community of people who care about social progress and environmental progress, they are so willing to offer help and support. They feel connected to our business and its success in a much deeper way that increases engagement, productivity and resilience.

Where do you see the future of sustainability?

Science and technology are making their way into the sustainability space, which will exponentially improve our ability to address many of the environmental and social challenges that we face. I look forward to more of that changing as we leverage ocean plastics and unfinished products floating freely, harvest that, which is polluting our oceans, to make product that is useful. We have to seize the opportunity as businesses to play a role in the change that is needed.

Ted Mischaikov, CEO of Healthy Pet in Ferndale, Wash., PSC member since 2015

Business Case Insight: Macro Economics & Business Responsibility 

When I studied economics, I learned about the incredible power of the free market system and that there are externalities that are not accounted for in the equation of supply and demand. This means that many companies are able to access resources needed for their business, whether it be natural capital or human capital, without accounting for the costs to our societies—like air pollution and water pollution. However, our societies are paying for these costs, and it is the responsibility of businesses to incorporate these costs whenever possible so that we are truly participating in a sustainable economy. 

Where do you see the future of sustainability?

It’s not that a pet is different today from 50 years ago, it’s because we have changed our perspective of the dog and the value of the dog in our lives. The power of protecting the innocence of pets never leaves. From day one as a pet, they will never leave that childlike innocence. We are stewards of their well-being, and we make the choices they cannot make. Just like the organic revolution was led by mothers concerned for the health and well-being of their family, the expansion of our family units now includes dogs, and we take our responsibility to protect them seriously. We can all go out and sell pet products, but to truly serve pets and pet parents, pet companies need to adjust our business practices to consider how we will maintain a high-growth industry in years to come, and this undoubtedly includes responsible business practices. 

Sustainable Insight 

PSC serves as a collbaorative platform to bring industry leaders like Mischaikov, Williams, Grosjean and Rose together.
Williams said he values PSC as a leader in the pet space.

“Just as people were uncertain about the internet in the 80s, it will come to you, and [PSC is] a great opportunity to get help and succeed early on to create the product line and culture you want as well as serve the customers,” Williams said. “Get behind the sustainability bandwagon; this is the new future.” 

For a forward-thinking company like In Clover, sustainability wasn’t a choice. 

“It’s what you have to do,” Rose said. 

Rose has also seen PSC’s value in the industry. 

“PSC is a foundation where we can not only make change, but somebody is acknowledging and allowing you to sing the praises of that change, which inspires others,” she said. “It really does differentiate and sets your business apart. Why wouldn’t you do that?”

PSC also opens doors for companies to higher their standards, opportunities, and benefits for social and environmental impact. As one of the few within the pet industry, Only Natural Pet officially joined the ranks of B Corp earlier this year after many years of large-scale improvement. 

“We were at an entry level for sustainability,” Grosjean said. “I don’t think we would have ever found out about B Corp certification if we had not been working with PSC and taking our Quick Impact Assessment, [PSC’s third-party assessment built in partnership with B Lab, the nonprofit behind B Corp certification].” 

After discovering PSC, Mischaikov sought out a way to expand his education and share it with other pet professionals.

“Here is this institution of forward-thinking capable, dedicated, honest and purposeful leaders that want to talk about what the issue really is,” he said. “They were out there helping me understand and grow what Healthy Pet was trying to accomplish.” 

These four leaders bring their wealth of knowledge and firsthand experience diving in to this movement with refreshing and optimistic perspective, with the hope of empowering others in the industry to never stop improving. 

For other companies that want to create transparent products with a conscience and get out of your own way, PSC is ready to support these companies by leveraging the team, world-class resources and tools, no matter where their starting line. Join PSC, and take your free, one-hour Quick Impact Assessment at petsustainability.org for an immediate measurement and first step toward improving your low-hanging fruit. 

Andrea Czobor is the positive impact program coordinator for the Pet Sustainability Coalition (PSC). 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags