VEVEY, SWITZERLAND — Nestlé Purina PetCare Europe has launched an Ocean Restoration Program aimed at protecting and preserving marine biodiversity in Europe. The pet food company has partnered with several initiatives to support restoration projects in France, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal.

Through various partnerships, Purina Europe hopes to restore up to 1,500 hectares of marine habitats by 2030, according to the company. These efforts will come full circle for the company’s fish byproduct supply chain, on which it relies for its pet food formulas. The company utilizes parts of fish that would otherwise be wasted for human consumption but provide high nutritional value for pets.

"We are delighted to launch Purina Europe's first Ocean Restoration Program,” said Kerstin Schmeiduch, director of corporate communications and sustainability at Purina Europe. “With marine biodiversity declining dramatically, collective restoration efforts are required. At Purina, we are committed to playing our part to help address the marine biodiversity loss in our extended supply chain. Therefore, together with our partners, we are taking an active role in helping restore marine habitats at-scale in Europe."

To this end, Purina Europe has established partnerships with The Seagrass Consortium, Oyster Heaven, Urchinomics and SeaForester. Each of these organizations is targeting a specific, at-risk marine species. According to Purina, the first phase of the partnership will be dedicated to research and establishing frameworks. The second phase, which will launch in 2026, will involve implementing scalable solutions to restore marine habitats.

The Seagrass Consortium, represented by Sea Ranger Service, is working to plant seagrass meadows to support carbon sequestering and biodiversity. Oyster Heaven is focused on reconstructing depleted oyster reefs, which provide habitats for a number of other marine species and serve as a natural filtration system for better ocean water quality.

Urchinomics is dedicated to the removal of excess sea urchins, which pose a risk to local kelp populations. Kelp also acts as a habitat for other sea creatures and as a natural filtration system. SeaForester is also working toward seaweed restoration by leveraging mobile seaweed nurseries to restore rapidly depleting seaweed forests.

According to Purina, these projects have all been piloted and proven, and show strong potential for operating at a larger scale.

"We are thrilled to be working with Purina Europe on their Ocean Restoration Program,” said Harry Wright, chief executive officer at Bright Tide. “The structure of the program enables the group of expert partners working on restoring critical species across Europe to scale their solutions and share knowledge and expertise. This will help us collaborate efficiently and give the greatest chance of measuring and replicating success. Going forward, the program can contribute to creating training, employment and business opportunities for local communities."

Purina Europe is also exploring restoration opportunities in Germany and the United Kingdom.

These latest partnerships are part of Nestlé Purina PetCare Europe’s broader strategy to ensure 100% of its marine ingredients are responsibly sourced or organic, according to the company. To support this goal, Purina has sponsored The Bycatch Solutions Hub and is currently supporting a consortium study on seaweed-based bio-stimulants as a way to support regenerative agriculture practices.

Read more about sustainability efforts across the pet food and treat industry.