Q: Creating a sustainable world for pets, people and planet is a clear but ambitious goal. I’m curious how Royal Canin is addressing this. Let’s start with the planet. What actions are you taking in this area?
“We are working on different areas when it comes to the ‘planet’ dimension of sustainability. Think about recyclable packaging – it’s not only a priority for us to create recyclable packaging, but a top priority to make sure the packaging gets recycled. If you’re only focusing on the creation of the material as such, you’re not doing the full job. The problem with packaging is that all countries do not have similar collection, sorting, and recycling infrastructures. We must therefore develop a packaging that is designed for circularity. It is like the telecommunication industry, where you can buy a 5G-compatible device, but the 5G network is not yet available everywhere. Our bags are designed to be recycled where appropriate collection, sorting and recycling structures exist. We also work with local authorities or partners to help advance their infrastructures, and take part in developing local solutions. In some markets, there are some players already well established (e.g., TerraCycle®) that can help collect and recycle packaging, but this is only part of the solution.
I’m also convinced that, as a business, we have a role to play in educating people, explaining what we do, and why. For a long time, everyone was talking about ozone layers. Now it’s about greenhouse gas and CO2. If people don’t understand what this means, they won’t be inclined to act. So, it’s vital to explain these basic concepts to engage people. This includes recycling packaging, because the first step towards circularity is carefully sorting packaging by pet owners, and we must ensure we do our share in educating pet owners on this topic.
We’re also working on raw materials, and particularly for innovations in deforestation and the protection of the biodiversity of fish. All our Brazilian soy is Proterra or RTRS certified, and 98% of our pulp and paper come from recycled sources or certified virgin pulp. All our marine ingredients come from sustainable sources too. Our nutritional philosophy is built on the importance of the nutrient, not the ingredient. So, when you see fish oil in the ingredient list, it’s not about fish oil for us, but about omega-3 fatty acid, that we can potentially source from different raw materials.
Regarding proteins, we know that feeding 10 billion people by 2050 will create tensions on the protein market, and the pet-food sector will unlikely be able to continue to operate with proteins as we know them today. So, we are working on innovations in this area, ensuring we secure a sufficient volume of proteins for the future, both from current and novel protein sources. Here again, having a nutritional philosophy based on the nutrient helps explore alternatives and innovate.”