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Leveraging our membership of the Pet Sustainability Coalition to drive sustainability

March 03 2022 - News

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Since I started as CEO of IQI Trusted Petfood Ingredients, I have been looking at how we can leverage our membership of the Pet Sustainability Coalition. We support the organization’s vision of a thriving and collaborative pet food industry that creates a positive impact on the communities and environments in which we do business. To further explore how we can support each other, I recently spoke with Caitlyn Dudas, co-founder and executive director of the Pet Sustainability Coalition. Together, we have a great starting point for driving sustainability in the pet food industry.

The power of the Pet Sustainability Coalition (PSC) is that it consists of a community of more than 200 members, including suppliers, brands, retailers, distributors, and producers. Caitlyn explained that having multiple stakeholders around the same table enables PSC to build systematic supply chain solutions that are better for all. At IQI, we are in a very good position to find sustainable solutions for feeding the growing pet population and inform our suppliers on how to make a sustainable transition.

More protein quality, less quantity

An important first step towards a more sustainable pet food industry can be made by reconsidering the use of proteins in pet food. There has been a tendency over the past 10 years to maximize the use of proteins in pet food. Caitlyn and I agree that, first of all, we should focus more on protein quality than quantity to ensure that cats and dogs get the kind and amount of proteins they need. Secondly, by considering more sources of protein other than the traditional animal proteins and marine proteins, we can create pet food with a smaller carbon footprint.

Sustainability performance of proteins

In 2021, PSC introduced the Four-Factor Framework to evaluate the sustainability performance of proteins used in pet foods. PSC developed the framework to provide the pet food industry with a holistic model to describe and evaluate the overall sustainability performance of any protein type. This is done according to its environmental impact, social impact, nutrition, and animal welfare performance. Because of its strong following, PSC is in a position to drive impact related to protein and all ingredient sourcing.

Sustainable sourcing

One of PSC’s first tangible successes is the building of a community of pet food suppliers that now uses unified types of sustainable packaging, ensuring increased recycling and reduced prices. Sustainable sourcing is next on the agenda. In 2022, PSC will complete a stakeholder analysis and towards the end of the year will present a roadmap on how to collaborate as an industry and how members can participate. The supply chain for ingredients is more fragmented than for packaging, however, with more suppliers and less transparency. This makes a unified approach more challenging.

More transparency in the supply chain

Traceability back to the source is an important aspect of validating different ingredients. One thing that needs to change is to be more transparent about where ingredients come from. In my previous blog, I called upon our suppliers and customers to track their greenhouse gas emissions and establish the size of their carbon footprint. This will allow us as an industry to gain greater insight and collaborate, leveraging existing sustainability knowledge, to improve our performance. I believe that IQI and PSC can join forces in discussions with our suppliers to create insight and transparency regarding their specialty ingredients.

Our future with the Pet Sustainability Coalition

There is strong demand from pet parents for pet food that contributes to sustainability, animal welfare, and pet health and well-being. I believe that by working closer together, IQI and PSC can help make the market shift. In the coming period, I aim to explore how IQI and PSC can support each other in increasing sustainability throughout the pet food industry supply chain.

Are you interested in learning more about IQI’s view on sustainability? Please download our sustainability e-paper.

 About Mark Oostendorp
Mark Oostendorp is IQI Trusted Petfood Ingredients’ Chief Executive Officer (CEO), responsible for managing our facilities in the Netherlands and the USA, and giving further shape to IQI’s strategic choices and the continuous increase of added value within the pet food supply chain. Mark has more than 25 years of international leadership experience for different companies in the fields of food, agriculture and biotechnology.

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