MEMPHIS, TENN. — Ducks Unlimited, a nonprofit focused on preserving waterfowl habitats in North America, recognized Nestlé Purina PetCare’s environmental stewardship with its Corporate Conservation Achievement Award on Oct. 14.

The award was presented at the first virtual Ducks Unlimited National Convention, which took place in late September. The award is meant to recognize corporate entities that have demonstrated a dedication to wetland conservation and environmental responsibility initiatives across the United States, Canada and Mexico.

"Ducks Unlimited is grateful for the support and partnership provided by Purina," said Adam Putnam, chief executive officer of Ducks Unlimited. "From investing in our conservation and sustainability efforts across the Midwest, strengthening our partnership with agriculture through the support of the Rice Stewardship Program, to taking such good care of our pet companions for nearly a century, we are honored to present DU's highest corporate award to Purina."

Purina is implementing several strategies to achieve its key environmental goals, which includes joining the USA Rice and Ducks Unlimited Rice Stewardship Program with a pledge to conserve soil, water and wildlife habitats for ricelands. Rice is a key ingredient used in many Purina pet food formulas.

The pet food and treat processor also partnered with Ducks Unlimited to improve wetland areas and lakes across Iowa’s Prairie Pothole Region, committing to the nonprofit’s Living Lakes Initiative to preserve 1,600 acres of wetland and grassland areas across the state.

According to Ducks Unlimited, restored wetlands can remove up to 70% of nitrates and up to 20% of phosphorus from upstream watershed, and restored grasslands can filter runoff, reducing nitrates by up to 90% and phosphorus by up to 55%. Purina operates three manufacturing facilities in Iowa.

"Purina and Ducks Unlimited share a passion for dogs, the high-quality nutrition that fuels their activity and protecting the environment that we share with them," said Joe Sivewright, chief executive officer of Nestlé Purina PetCare. "Ducks Unlimited has a proven track record and a collaborative approach to conservation, bringing together farmers, ranchers, sportspeople and companies for highly effective partnerships. Together, we are making a positive impact. Purina is proud to support Ducks Unlimited to make the planet a better place for people, and for their pets, now and for future generations to come."

Purina’s other environmental goals include improving ingredient sourcing for sustainability, reducing water use and the carbon footprint of its packaging. The company aims to make 100% of its product packaging recyclable or reusable and achieve 100% renewable electricity use at all manufacturing sites by 2025.

Recently, the company achieved its 2020 zero-waste goal across 21 manufacturing locations in the United States and its St. Louis headquarters. Purina also launched a pilot program for its first 100% recyclable wet pet food packaging in the Netherlands, which, if successful, will be rolled out to other locations globally. Nestlé is also piloting refillable point-of-sale pet food and coffee dispensers at select retail locations in Switzerland as part of its initiative to reduce single-use packaging.

Additionally, the company pledged to incorporate environmental stewardship into its Eden, N.C. pet food manufacturing plant, with operations designed to promote sustainability that include zero waste-to-landfill and recovering and reusing heat and water. The facility will use 100% renewable electricity “in the shortest practical timeframe,” the company reported. Purina’s goal is zero environmental impact in company operations by 2030.

Read more about sustainability in the pet food and treat supply chain.