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5 Ways to Incorporate Sustainability Into Your Pet Business

The demand grows for sustainable products and services. Here’s how to meet it.

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CONSUMERS ARE SEEKING sustainable products and services now more than ever, including for their pets. In a 2019 survey by the Pet Sustainability Coalition (PSC) and World Pet Association, 91 percent of industry professionals reported they expect the demand for environmentally friendly and socially conscious companies to increase.

So, how do you build legitimate sustainability into your pet business?

Engage your employees. Start with an employee sustainability survey. Solicit input about what is important to them in terms of the environment and society, and how those issues relate to pet products and services. Create a green team to involve all employees in the journey, and address matters of diversity and inclusion through staff training.

Create a purchasing commitment for sustainability. While recycling and energy efficiency are important, the products you sell and use can have a greater impact on the environment, people and pets. Build a product selection methodology that aligns with the sustainability values you and your team develop. An essential first step is to write a commitment statement, which then guides your purchasing decisions and lets suppliers know what is important to you.

Find legitimate sustainability pet brands. Look for manufacturers that share the same values as you, whether diversity and inclusion, community engagement or sustainable plastic solutions — or a combination or all. One easy way is to check out PSC’s list of accredited companies with third-party verification of their sustainable business operations.

Use authentic content. When communicating with existing and potential customers about the sustainable brands you choose, in-store sales and marketing assets from those manufacturers can effectively convey their authentic sustainability story and value, as can a staff trained to relay that information. You also can leverage each brand’s digital content to engage with customers online and help them “trace” authenticity regarding sustainability.

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Collaborate with industry partners. Remember: You are not alone. Hundreds of companies are working together on strategies that embed sustainability into the pet industry. Attend events where you can hear how brands, retailers and service providers in the industry innovate and integrate sustainability. PSC’s “Meet the Buyer” program is a series is one-hour online events where sustainable pet brands share their strategies live in front of retailers. Visit petsustainability.org for the full chedule.

Many pet parents favor brands, retailers and service providers that demonstrate verifiable sustainability. You don’t have to be an expert. Simply get started by engaging your employees, demonstrating a commitment, and working with industry partners to help along the way.

Sarah Hutcherson is accreditation manager of the Pet Sustainability Coalition, where she oversees the Positive Impact Program. Sarah comes to PSC with seven years of experience in marketing, project management and sustainability across natural food and NGOs. She believes that strong business is synonymous with sustainable business, and is excited to help member companies meet consumer demand for sustainable products. shutcherson@petsustainability.org

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