Mar 30, 2012
By Debbie Phillips-Donaldson
A new report shows retailer Walmart and Nestle, parent company of Nestle Purina, ranking among the top corporate sustainability leaders worldwide, according to GreenBiz.com. Based on a survey of "industry experts and professionals" by GlobeScan Inc. and SustainAbility Ltd., the report names 13 such leaders, with Unilever at the very top.
I'm guessing the "industry" referred to is the sustainability industry (sort of an oxymoron, no?). As for the number of companies named, perhaps the experts surveyed were going for the lucky 13?
Anyway, I singled out Walmart and Nestle because of their respective relevance to our industry: Walmart has long been known for its sustainability efforts, particularly in the area of packaging required of its suppliers, including petfood companies. As for Nestle Purina, its "green" practices include using solar power for two of its US plants as well as launching a product line, Purina One Beyond, that uses sustainable ingredients and packaging made of 92% renewable materials and soy-based ink. The petfood company also encourages pet retailers and consumers to recycle wet petfood cans and employs sustainable fishing practices and sources.
But it's not just huge multinational corporations that are leading in sustainability. Recently, GA Pet Food Partners, the private label petfood manufacturer based in the UK, announced the opening of its new environmental management facility as part of a 10-year sustainability plan. (True, GA is a fairly large company, especially in terms of private label manufacturers, but it's not likely to make a list that includes giants like Unilever, Walmart, GE, Nike and IBM.)
Other, including smaller, petfood companies have taken similar steps toward sustainability, and not simply because they feel "warm fuzzies" from doing good or enjoy positive PR with consumers. (The latter benefit should not be overlooked, however, as more and more consumers say they look to companies they buy from to show progress toward sustainability.) These manufacturers -- like GA, Nestle Purina and others -- are also pursuing sustainability initiatives because they help the companies save money. In other words, going green can lead to more green of the dollar (other currency) variety.
Watch this site for an upcoming article on GA's new facility and long-term sustainability efforts, which might provide ideas that your company could consider to reduce expenses, be a better neighbor to its surrounding community and, yes, help save the planet.
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