Upcoming fair: 7 - 10 May 2024 // Nuremberg, Germany

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New survey results: Pathways to sustainable development in the pet industry – an industry overview

Even in times of pandemics, the interest in sustainable products in the pet industry does not diminish at all.
Even in times of pandemics, the interest in sustainable products in the pet industry does not diminish at all. // © PantherMedia

Wiesbaden. The results from the latest Interzoo sustainability survey as well as actionable areas and best practice examples for sustainable development in the pet supplies industry will be presented on the first afternoon of Interzoo.digital.

Even in times of pandemic, interest in sustainable products is not diminishing in any way. The timing of the publication of the interview-based sustainability survey for the pet supplies industry could therefore not have been more apt. On the initiative of Interzoo Academy and WZF in partnership with the Sustainable Transformation Lab of the Antwerp Management School, a project led by Professor Wayne Visser and Jan Beyne resulted in a “best practice guide” for sustainability that will be presented to the public for the first time during the digital edition of Interzoo on 1 June.

Supporting industry stakeholders with their sustainability plans

For some years now, the importance of sustainability in the pet industry has been growing. Companies need support and role models to develop and implement sustainability measures and strategies. The objective of the best practice guide that has now been completed is to help industry participants to develop and update their sustainability plans. To this end, the survey drew on selected UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the pet industry as a navigation tool for companies. The guide concludes with practical tips for integrating sustainability processes into organizations.

“In our capacity as organizer of Interzoo, the world’s leading platform for the international pet supplies industry, it is important that we address the issue of sustainability and provide a forum for dialogue on this topic,” says Dr Rowena Arzt, Director Exhibitions at WZF GmbH, adding: “In this ‘overview of sustainable practices in the pet industry’, which is being presented for the first time, we will explore trends and provide explanations about the SDGs that impact the pet supplies industry and how organizations can help shape these global objectives. Best practice examples, considered from the perspective of an integrated value chain, are also intended to inspire participants to start integrating sustainability in their own companies or strengthen existing initiatives.”

Increase in customer expectations of products and companies

More and more, dogs, cats, birds and other pets are being seen as part of the family. Accordingly, pet owners are placing increasing importance on the quality and sustainability of the food they give their pets. To some extent they are applying the same standards as they apply to themselves. The result of this trend is that manufacturers are dispensing with additives in their pet food, while aspects like health and sustainability are coming into sharper focus in specific market segments.

Manufacturers of pet products or pet food can address the issue of sustainability at various starting points, e.g., the weight of packaging, transport, raw materials used or the design of their processes. The survey shows that wherever possible, manufacturers are working with labels such as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative for more eco-friendly packaging, or with globally recognized ISO standards. When it comes to the ingredients themselves, alternative protein sources like insect or plant proteins are becoming more and more important. Some manufacturers are striving to have carbon-neutral processes in place from 2025 or 2030. Companies are therefore taking a wide range of approaches to actively meet their customers’ sustainability requirements or to position themselves as trailblazers in this area. An important aspect of sustainability is authentic communication through transparent information, on your website, in environmental campaigns, or by embedding a sustainability strategy into your corporate policy.

“Very important” or “extremely important” for 80 percent of companies

WZF had already arranged for an initial survey about sustainability activities in the pet supplies industry to be conducted as part of Interzoo 2018. As the AMS (Antwerp Management School) expert responsible, Professor Wayne Visser summarises the results: “80 percent of companies believed that sustainability aspects would become very important or extremely important for the pet supplies industry and for their own company in the following three years, while 56 percent thought that they themselves had made significant progress towards sustainability. Conversely, only 36 percent of the companies polled considered that significant progress was being made within the pet supplies industry in general.” In Germany in particular, comparatively more companies stated that they saw a positive development towards more sustainability within the industry than was the case in other regions.

Survey update: new results to be presented on 1 June

Interzoo Academy and AMS are currently conducting a new survey to determine whether the industry’s views of the importance of sustainability have changed over the last three years. The survey was still open until 18 May. The first results from this current poll will be presented by Jan Beyne from AMS during the sustainability session at Interzoo.digital on 1 June and will be available on the platform at the Interzoo stand.

Contact: sustainability@interzoo-academy.com 

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Information about the organizer

WZF (Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft Zoologischer Fachbetriebe GmbH) organises Interzoo in Nuremberg in partnership with ZZF (Zentralverband Zoologischer Fachbetriebe Deutschlands e.V) as honorary sponsor and supporting organization. WZF is the founder, owner and organizer of the world’s largest international trade fair for the pet supplies industry. With more than 1,900 exhibitors and over 39,000 trade visitors from 125 countries at the last event, Interzoo is the undisputed leading international fair for pet supplies. Offer packages for Interzoo.digital are made available by WZF as part of its long-standing arrangement with NürnbergMesse.

WZF is a 100 percent subsidiary of ZZF. It makes a major contribution to the economic development and communications strategy of the pet industry through its business segments Trade Fairs & Events, Media Relations & Industry-specific PR and Training & Professional Development, and through its animal ID agency.