SAN DIEGO — As part of its ongoing mission to serve pets, people and planet, Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. on May 28 released its first-ever Sustainability Report, detailing its progress over the past year.

“As we accelerate our efforts around responsible animal care, we’ll also remain focused on reducing waste, minimizing our environmental footprint, and implementing real sustainable change that can improve the lives of generations of pets and people,” wrote Francesca Mahoney, head of sustainability at Petco, inside the report. “This, our first Sustainability Report, offers us the opportunity to highlight the progress we’ve made, address topics most important to our business and stakeholders, and offer a glimpse into what sustainability at Petco will look like in the future.”

Most recently, the company committed to transition at least 50% of its product assortment to sustainable products by the end of 2025. This means half of its products will meet its standards for responsible manufacturing, sustainably sourced materials and ingredients, responsible packaging and animal welfare.

Petco is also using 92% less plastic and 23% less cardboard in packaging for its online orders. The retailer estimated this initiative saved 3.6 million lbs of cardboard and 30,000 lbs of plastic from landfills in 2020.

Additionally, the company has gotten rid of single-use plastic bags across its owned-brand supply chain, resulting in more than 3 million bags that would potentially become waste. Petco’s owned brands include Youly, Reddy and EveryYay pet supplies and accessories, Whole Hearted pet food, Well & Good pet health products, So Phresh litter and sanitary products, Good Lovin’ dog chews, Leaps & Bounds pet toys, and Imagitarium fish accessories.

Petco has also launched a pet toy and accessory collection exclusively featuring products made from upcycled plastic bottles. The company reported it has upcycled approximately 1.5 million plastic bottles to date.

Addressing the animal welfare tenet of its sustainability standards, Petco has ceased to sell any “human or bark-activated” shock collars. It has donated more than $300 million to animal welfare organizations and found homes for more than 6.5 million animals, including roughly 400,000 scheduled for euthanasia, through its Petco Love nonprofit foundation. 

Petco has also expanded its nutritional guidelines — first implemented in May 2019 to rid its shelves of dog and cat foods with artificial ingredients — to other companion animal foods including rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs, gerbils, hamsters, rats, mice and fish feed.

Environmentally responsible manufacturing and operations is another area in which Petco is working to become more sustainable. The retailer has either maintained or reduced its energy intensity levels across approximately 1,400 stores over the last six years and has produced roughly 1,300 megawatt-hours of electricity through solar panels to fuel its national support center in San Diego.

"Our commitment to improving the lives of pets, pet parents and our own Petco partners has been at the core of our business for more than 55 years, but it's never been stronger than it is today," said Ron Coughlin, chairman and chief executive officer of Petco. "In the wake of a year full of challenges and adversity, human and pet-kind have shown their resilience. Each day we strive to do the right thing for pets, pet parents and the planet we all share – and I'm proud of all we've accomplished to further this goal."

Read more about sustainability in the pet food and treat industry.