UNLEASHING THEIR IMPACT CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6
Morey-Reuner described how,
a decade ago, with the goal of
calling consumers’ attention to
its global reforestation efforts, the
company implemented a simple
virtual forest app on Facebook
whereby the company would
plant a real tree for every full-grown virtual tree. But Morey-Reuner, who encouraged attendees
to “think big,” said the company
didn’t stop there.
Since 2010, Timberland has
helped build self-sustaining tree
nurseries to support local farmers
and communities, impacting more
than 3,000 farms in Haiti and, in turn, helping to send 3,400 children to school.
After that, Timberland set its sights on an even bigger goal to bring more positive
impact to the country and its people—bringing cotton back to Haiti, where the crop
hadn’t been grown in decades. The mills Timberland works with to make its products
will purchase cotton from Haitian farmers, and other brands have signed letters of intent
to buy their cotton.
Morey-Reuner emphasized the importance of collaboration as a force for good—even
if it means working with the competition.
“The most important thing to do, in my mind, is you’ve got to take the long view,”
she said. “This stuff can’t happen overnight, but it can happen more quickly if you col-
laborate with each other. That’s the critical piece.”
For attendees, there were lessons to be learned from hearing about the experiences
of a large, successful company from outside of the pet industry.
“The lessons that you can get from [Timberland’s] experience [can be] sort of fil-
tered down and sized right for your company,” said Sarah Stone, marketing director
for Novato, Calif.-based Worldwise, a founding member of PSC. “They’re universal
lessons about sticking with it and asking great questions, and they can be applied to
really any business. The thing that I took away from it is how to tell your story and
tell it well.”
Collaboration was a key theme of the event, where some attendees sat alongside
direct competitors but were happy to talk shop and trade advice.
Feedback from last year’s inaugural Impact Unleashed showed that “one of the most
valuable parts of the event is the opportunity to engage in a more intimate setting with
values-led leaders in the pet industry,” Bolton said.
As a result of this feedback, PSC expanded the event’s networking sessions.
Stone said collaboration is one of the greatest perks of being a member of the
“[At events like Impact Unleashed,] I get to talk to other people in the industry out-
side of, say, a trade show floor—where everyone’s super busy—and really get to learn
from other people’s experience and say, ‘Oh yeah, I have that issue too’ or ‘Here’s what
we did about that.’”
She also cited support and resources from PSC as being important drivers in her
company’s sustainability journey.
To further motivate PSC members, the event hosted a series of short, inspirational
presentations from leaders in the pet industry’s sustainability movement.
Stephanie Volo, vice president of marketing and sustainability for Earth Animal in
Southport, Conn., spoke about how a devastating event for the company forced it to
“call in the herd” and ask hard questions about its policies, procedures and supply
chain. Ultimately, Earth Animal was changed for the better, and Volo said the company
can stand by its integrity.
Andy Downs, marketing specialist and sustainability lead at Only Natural Pet in
Boulder, Colo., offered attendees a glimpse of lessons his company has learned while
striving to become a B Corp. At first, Downs said he and his
co-workers solely focused on meeting the requirements for certi-
fication, but they’ve since started asking deeper questions about
sustainability and what is right for the company, taking ownership
of their sustainability goals.
Tina Nguyen, owner of Jax & Bones in Baldwin Park, Calif.,
spoke about sustaining passion in the workplace. She shared her
journey of starting her toys, bedding and accessories company
after suffering a career disappointment and moving back home.
She urged listeners to keep feeding their passion by celebrating
milestones, changing their thinking and reinventing the wheel.
One challenge mentioned by attendees was getting everyone at
a company onboard with sustainability initiatives. Julia Giaquin-
to, office manager for Boston-based Polkadog Bakery, said Impact
Unleashed has shown her how important it is to “infect other people with the mindset
of caring—not just caring yourself but spreading it to other people. I think there’s more
power in numbers, so if you’ve got everybody onboard or on the same page, it’s easier
to get your goals accomplished.”
According to speaker Jennifer Briggs, who spoke about her past experience as vice
president of human resources at Fort Collins, Colo.-based New Belgium Brewing, every-
one at a company must be oriented toward the business’s mission and accomplishing
it. Briggs made the case for building a purpose-driven brand. She urged companies to
“crush” their departments, turn employees into self-leaders, and organize their entire
businesses around their purpose and values.
In purpose-driven companies, employees are more engaged, Briggs said.
“It’s not just about making people happy; they’re happy because they’re contributing
to something that is bigger than themselves,” she said.
A company’s purpose also resonates with pet owners, Briggs pointed out. Consum-
ers have many choices. When they look at a shelf, they’re not just picking a product—
they’re picking a brand, she said.
“You build authentic brands by being purpose driven,” Briggs added.
One of the most important pieces of the puzzle for companies on a sustainability
journey is having the tools needed to implement their plans. With this in mind, PSC de-
voted the second day of Impact Unleashed to workshops, featuring topics on designing
sustainable packaging, integrating a company’s sustainability program into its brand
storytelling, and developing a custom quick-action plan to address each company’s
biggest area of opportunity.
For more on how PSC is impacting the industry and the sustainability stories of pet
companies, be sure to check out the January issue of Pet Product News.
4 1. Jennifer Briggs spoke about her past experience at New Bel-
gium Brewing and encouraged
attendees to rethink how they
structure their businesses.
2. Henk Bosch of DSM
Nutritional Products with Julia
Giaquinto of Polkadog Bakery
3. The founding members of
the Pet Sustainability Coalition
(PSC) celebrate the organization’s fifth birthday.
4. Attendees participated
in several rounds of “speed
dating,” swapping stories and