Leeds Beckett partners with Yorkshire-based Inspired Pet Nutrition to pioneer sustainability in the pet food industry

Sep 6, 2022

Leeds Beckett University has joined forces with Thirsk-based Inspired Pet Nutrition (IPN) on a cutting-edge new project to audit and reduce the carbon emissions of their full supply chain. This will ensure IPN achieve their net zero carbon goal, and secure their position as industry leaders and pioneers in sustainability.

Leeds Beckett University has joined forces with Thirsk-based Inspired Pet Nutrition (IPN) on a cutting-edge new project to audit and reduce the carbon emissions of their full supply chain. This will ensure IPN achieve their net zero carbon goal, and secure their position as industry leaders and pioneers in sustainability.

IPN will work with academic experts at Leeds Beckett on a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme, which is part-funded by the Government through Innovate UK. The aim of the project is for IPN to become the first UK pet food manufacturer to analyse the sustainability of the company’s whole supply chain, using a Carbon Footprint Evaluation Model.

Professor Christopher Gorse, Researcher in the Leeds Sustainability Institute (LSI) at Leeds Beckett and project leader, explained: “All large companies at the moment are progressing on a journey towards net zero – and IPN are already well on their way. They have already achieved carbon negative accreditation in relation to their on-site emissions, such as fuel and electricity consumption, known as ‘Scope 1 and 2’ of the international Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

“This project will set up a framework to analyse and evaluate IPN’s ‘Scope 3’ emissions – the carbon produced within the supply – or value – chain. This is the most difficult to measure and will ensure that IPN are a truly sustainable company.”

IPN are the biggest UK-based manufacturer of dry pet food – including some of the biggest and most sustainable brands in the UK, like Harringtons and Wagg. They were the first pet food company in the UK to introduce recyclable and compostable packaging – and the first Scope 1 and 2 carbon negative major pet food manufacturer in the UK, through their use of recyclable packaging, green energy, and a variety of off-setting initiatives.

Chris Wragg, Group Marketing Director of IPN, said: “Sustainability is at the heart of our vision at IPN: To become the Nation’s most sustainable, most loved, home of pet nutrition brands. This project will play a key role in understanding and improving our supply chain and business, helping us to continue to leave a positive pawprint in everything we do. For people, by enabling them to feed great nutrition they can afford & feel good about, meaning healthier and happier pets, and for the planet by reducing our environmental impact.”

Will Bushell, Head of Marketing – Dog Business Unit of IPN, said: “We believe the key to developing more sustainable business practices is data. By better understanding the environmental impact of our full supply chain we will be able to set better targets, make better decisions and measure their impact more effectively so we can show our customers, our shoppers and our employees that we are making a positive impact and walking the talk.”

The KTP will begin with the recruitment of a full-time KTP Associate, who will be an experienced graduate, and will be embedded as a full-time member of the IPN team for the duration of the two-year project. The Associate will lead the project, with the full support and input from the academic team at Leeds Beckett.

The team will begin by capturing exactly where the energy use is within IPN’s supply chain – and then apply sophisticated data analysis techniques to monitor and evaluate this and determine which areas IPN need to prioritise to gain the biggest energy savings. The techniques will be developed throughout the project to include Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

This value chain evaluation will enable IPN to make strategic decisions about their choice of ingredients and suppliers. A key part of the project will be to work with smaller suppliers to assist them in measuring their own carbon emissions and become more sustainable. The university team will fully embed the new skills into IPN to create a sustainable, resilient, whole systems approach to evaluating their energy sources and select the best suppliers for high value, environmentally-friendly products – now and in the future.

Professor Gorse added: “IPN are a very progressive company – not many companies are doing so much to commit to achieving net zero carbon, and really look at their supply chain and work with people outside of their organisation to make energy savings. It is very exciting to be embarking on this very advanced project.  

“It is so important for us at LSI to create examples of how a company can transfer to be a net zero carbon company, and maintain quality and competitiveness, at a time when energy costs are rising. There is a green economy now and companies need to respond, or they will be left behind.

“This will be a strong partnership between IPN and Leeds Beckett going forwards, and it is an example of what we can do as a university with similar companies with the ambition to meet net zero carbon by 2030 or sooner. We are in a strong position to support other organisations in a similar way.”

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) aim to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills within the UK knowledge base.

The role of Sustainable Supply Chain and Lifecycle Analyst is now open for applications through the Leeds Beckett Vacancies website – https://vacancies.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/ – with the closing date of Thursday 29 September.

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