Collaboration is the new competition. As a break from the persistent race to the top between contenders, the leading three independent distributors including Pet Food Experts (PFX), Phillips Pet Food and Supplies and Animal Supply Company unite as Icon Pet Sustainability Coalition (PSC) members to pioneer the adoption of sustainable business practices.
2020 was not an easy year for distributors who were caught in a complex web of serving retailers; many who struggled to keep doors open or shift to online purchasing and delivery services, and at the same time distributing products from brands that are experiencing massive supply chain disruption. And then, to add pressure to an already stressed system, pet parents also stockpiled pet food causing unpredictable demand shifts.
Nonetheless, the industry fared well as pandemic pet ownership soared, and out of the ashes of struggle comes new opportunity for building back better.
As the first distributor member of the Pet Sustainability Coalition, Pet Food Experts had an active year when it comes to sustainability, spending much of 2020 and early 2021 hard at work to support Flex Forward, the first all-inclusive pet food packaging recycling program. Using reverse logistics, PFX rallied retailers and pet parents in the Pacific Northwest to generate approximately 8,000 lbs or 33,500 total used pet food and treat bags.
This initial test was set out to inform a potential nationwide recycling program with more than 300 million pet food bags currently ending up in a landfill due to their hard-to-recycle nature. While this unique pilot is a small step in addressing the waste footprint of the 100-billion-dollar pet industry, if scaled, it would provide a solution to one of the industry’s most pressing environmental issues.
“Bringing industry leaders together is a necessary escalation in supporting the large-scale efforts that must be mobilized to advance sustainable business practices worldwide,” says Michael Baker, Pet Food Experts’ Chief Executive Officer. “We are making sustainability a priority and this partnership is a step forward in our commitment to reduce the overall environmental impact in our day-to-day business operations.”
This is only a single example where collaboration will be required to achieve PSC’s vision for the pet industry to make a positive impact on the environment and communities where it does business. Since 2020 was the hottest year on record, there is an increasing sense of urgency to take action. The business community is one of the best levers for change as it can often move faster than the government, and with more impact than an individual, while at the same time reaping greater profitability and return on their investments.
While Phillips and Animal Supply Company are new to the Pet Sustainability Coalition, they have arrived ready to take action and with robust enthusiasm.
“As part of our commitment to the pet industry and the environment, Phillips Pet Food & Supplies is proud to become a new member of the Pet Sustainability Coalition. We see our partnership with Pet Food Experts and Animal Supply as the first step in our effort to lessen the environmental impact our industry has on the planet,” says Blaine Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of Phillips Pet Food & Supplies.
“As we begin a new chapter in the evolution of Phillips Pet Food & Supplies, we are proud to strengthen our environmental focus as well as helping to enhance our manufacturer and retail partners focus on sustainable business practices.”
“At Animal Supply Company, our vision is to have a world where every pet and human is happy, healthy, and safe. This means taking an active responsibility in protecting our planet earth through meaningful sustainability practices that lead to a cleaner and more eco-friendly future for our families, retail partners, and vendor partners. We’re proud of our industry forging this partnership with PSC and we look forward to making a difference in changing this world through aggressive social responsibility aimed at protecting the environment,” says Tim Batterson, CEO, Animal Supply Company.
With three major distributor partners now collaborating to drive impact, the Pet Sustainability Coalition is poised to accelerate and scale its programs to deliver optimal solutions that will catapult the industry forward toward a future that is better for pets, people and planet.
For more information on the Pet Sustainability Coalition visit their website, HERE.