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Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition Takes Root

Posted: March 27, 2013, 2:30 p.m. EDT


By Clay Jackson

Words like “natural” and “green” are embraced by many in the pet industry, and now a new organization hopes to do the same for “sustainability.”

Chris Bentley, co-founder of natural pet product companies I and Love and You and Only Natural Pet, has joined forces with the consulting firm Natural Capitalism Solutions to form the Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition.

“I've been passionate about the environment my entire life,” Bentley said. “It's time to apply my passion and 23 years of experience in the pet business toward facilitating sustainable progress in the pet industry and protecting the resources our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren deserve.”

 Bentley and Volo
Chris Bentley of the Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition accepts a Founding Member pledge of $10,000 from Stephanie Volo, co-CEO of Planet Dog. Other founding members include Kong Co., I and Love and You, Only Natural Pet, Natural Capitalism Solutions, Petco, West Paw Design and Cardinal Pet Care.

Coalition logo

The coalition's inaugural meeting took place in February at Global Pet Expo before an audience of more than 20 leading pet companies.

Manufacturers, distributors and retailers competing in the multibillion-dollar market for eco-friendly pet products are encouraged to join.

“The membership structure will always include a free option in order to encourage collaborative participation from all interested parties,” noted Caitlyn Bolton, the coalition's executive director.

San Diego-based Petco today became the eighth and newest $10,000 Founding Member, following West Paw Design of Bozeman, Mont., a manufacturer of dog toys, beds and apparel, which joined March 21.

Among the other founding members helping to launch the organization is Cardinal Pet Care of Azusa, Calif.

“Several years ago, the employees of our company created and endorsed the phrase ‘Devoted to Pets, People and the Planet' as our motto,” said Tony de Vos, CEO of Cardinal Laboratories Inc. “We support the Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition for bringing together other companies that uphold the same goals we embrace and for charting a roadmap of working together toward sustainability.”

The coalition is planning a three-pronged approach:

• Identifying businesses' sustainability needs and developing collaborative innovation to meet those needs.

• Providing tools and resources designed to guide members toward sustainability milestones.

• Developing a voluntary accreditation program that aims to create industry standards and sustainability language.

Natural Capitalism Solutions of Longmont, Colo., is developing an interactive Web-based platform that will include learning modules and sustainability implementation tools.

“Sustainability drives a business' profitability, but more often than not organizations are scared to embrace what they see as a complex undertaking,” said Toby Russell, the consulting firm's CEO.

Twenty-seven companies are Founding, Gold or Supporting members of the coalition as of today. Membership and sponsorship information is available at www.sustainablepet.org.

The website is expected to be fully functional by the end of April.

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