Pet industry sustainability initiatives got a big boost from Northwest Naturals, producer of freeze dried and frozen dog and cat food and treats. The Portland, OR based company joined the Pet Sustainability Coalition as an Icon member - the highest membership level in the organization.
Icon members make an annual contribution of $25,000 or more and receive higher level benefits, including higher levels of project support to further their environmental and social performance. Further, Icon members contribute to the Pet Sustainability Coalition’s work on big industry topics such as packaging and protein sourcing.
The PSC, founded in 2013 by 8 innovative Founding Companies now serves more than 150 member companies andinitiates collaborative solutions co-developed by its retailers, distributors, brands and suppliers to take on issues too large for a single company to solve.
“Our Icon members provide a means for greater investment and focus on impact areas that require a long-term systems approach” says Caitlyn Dudas, Executive Director, PSC.
John Cariglio, National Sales Manager at Northwest Naturals commented upon joining, “As new members we are most excited about self-discovery. We know where we’ve been and what we are doing. It is exciting to see where the gaps are, and what else we can do to complete the picture and move forward.”
Sustainability in Manufacturing
Northwest Naturals is a division of Morasch Meats, a five generation family owned business. The company cites on its website that it ‘has been at the forefront of environmentally friendly development within their community and the food processing industry since 1956.” The company’s primary manufacturing plant is primarily powered by an on-site solar array. The company has aggressive recycling programs, with 85% recovery of corrugated cardboard, office supplies, plastics and metals, while reclaiming 100% of lubricants for use in their onsite waste-heat system.
“We are looking forward to adding solar energy to our second facility,” commented Cariglio.
Northwest Naturals discloses all of it’s protein sources, most of which are sourced from domestic sources, whether land or sea. Manufacturing occurs in a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspected facility, with USDA inspectors on staff to oversee every batch. Production is also reviewed by Oregon Tilth and the Food and Drug Administration.
Cariglio noted, “having fresh eyes to look at us and help us understand what we can be doing better will be a great part of Pet Sustainability Coalition membership.”
When asked about what challenges the Pet Sustainability Coalition team can help Northwest Naturals solve, Cariglio discussed the company’s workforce. “The production floor is more diverse as compared to the Portland community. The owners do a lot for the employees - they get a higher hourly wage, and are paid fully even if they have to stay at home due to quarantine requirements - but we are interested in looking at diversity and inclusion in our workforce.”
Responding to questions about what success might look like in their first year as Pet Sustainability Coalition members, Cariglio discussed measurable environmental improvements and increasing the awareness of sustainability among its customers:
“Ultimately, we want the consumer to know more about our initiatives, particularly in geographic areas beyond the core states that seem to value sustainability the most. Making our consumers aware outside of those geographic areas would be good for the business, for the industry and for the environment.”
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