Preserving the Health of Our Planet with Francesca Mahoney of Petco

April 18, 2024

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As Petco’s Vice President of Sustainability, Francesca is responsible for delivering on the company’s commitment to drive positive societal change through accelerated sustainability efforts within the company’s business and industry, as well as the world at large.

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John: Welcome to another edition of the Impact podcast. I’m so excited to have with us today, Francesca Mahoney, she’s the Vice President of Sustainability at Petco. Welcome, Francesca to the Impact Podcast.

Francesca: Thank you so much, John. Thanks for having me. Really, really excited and honored to be here and looking forward to our discussion today.

John: Well, this is the first time you’ve been on Impact and the first time we’ve talked about pets and Petco with regards to sustainability in ESG. But before we get talking about all the great work in ESG and sustainability, you and your colleagues are doing it at Petco. Can you first share a little bit about your background? Where were you born, where you grew up, and how you got on this fantastic journey that you’re on?

Francesca: Yeah, absolutely. So my story, originally I’m from Italy. I was born and raised in Florence, Italy, moved to the United States when I was about 11 years old with my family and out of all places we moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, which was a shock to the system in many ways, especially the weather.

John: Right. No kidding.

Francesca: Yeah, it was a big move and at the time my parents chose Minneapolis due to some family ties that we had there. But one of the interesting things about moving to Minneapolis out of all places in the country is that after growing up there, going to high school and graduating from college, one of the big companies that’s headquartered in Minneapolis is Target and really my first roll out of college was working at Target’s corporate office in Minneapolis and held a variety of roles there. I started early on in the merchandising space, which was really interesting, kind of first roll out of school, but quickly moved into marketing. I always had this passion for brand marketing, creative, really finding ways to connect with consumers and at the time, target offered a lot of different opportunities for me to really get my feet wet in the marketing space and enjoy roles ranging from marketing operations to brand and creative marketing, to working on some of the big back to school campaigns and the big holiday campaigns. So I learned a ton in those early years working there. When I moved over to Petco, so I was at Target for about 10 or 11 years or so, and then made the move to Petco. My husband and I at the time knew we were making a move to California, and so the opportunity at Petco came at a perfect time. I joined the company in an own brand role, so I was really leading brand strategy for a lot of Petco’s private label brands. Again, it was sort of a nice marriage of the merchandising background I had had, the marketing background and thinking about how do we position the brands that we carry to our customers. So it was a really great first role at Petco. From that point, just made my way throughout the company, again, holding a variety of marketing roles here as well, everything from integrated marketing where I led marketing strategy and planning, our brand and creative team for a little while where I was really managing the team and our in-house creative team, which was an amazing opportunity. About three or four years ago, our CEO at the time said, ”You know what? I really want to have a dedicated leader for sustainability.” This is a function that’s incredibly important to us as a company. The team at the time had been doing some amazing work on sustainability, but I would say was more ad hoc, right? Teams were running their own initiatives or finding opportunities to be more sustainable in their work. But what was really missing was a broader company strategy and really kind of an eye towards what should we as a Petco company really be doing and be focused on when it comes to all things sustainability and ESG. So that’s really when my role was created. So again, I’ve been up in this role for about four years and I don’t have a background in sustainability. That was a new part for me. But what’s been really interesting and what’s kind of tapped into my personal passion point is being in the retail space most of my career and in the marketing side, I’ve always really felt passionately about understanding what consumers really want, understanding what are those insights, why do they make the decisions that they make, why do they purchase the things that they purchase? And finding ways to story tell and connect with them and what’s beautiful about my current role in sustainability is that it’s really no different. We really lead with customer insights and try to understand when it comes to sustainability, what do our customers really care about, and then how do we really use that to inform the strategy, the way we go to market, how we engage with customers on sustainability, and really make sure we have that two-way dialogue so that we’re staying in tune. I would say, and I’ve told others at Petco that, I feel at times like I’ve got the best job in the company because not only is it just so personally rewarding to know that whatever we’re doing in the work that I’m leading is hopefully making a really big impact, but it’s one of those topics that people are really passionate about. When I first started on this team, I can’t tell you how many people emailed me out of the blue, whether they were in accounting or HR, all different functions of the company and basically saying, hey, so excited for you in this role. If there’s anything I can do to help, let me know how I can jump in because I’m really passionate about sustainability. So I definitely feel a privilege, and I know that this role comes with immense responsibility, but it’s been just so incredibly rewarding and being able to tap into my experience that I’ve had so far.

John: Well, I can always say from my perspective of doing these interviews over the last 17 or so years that I think you’ve become a full fledged member of one of the coolest fraternities on the planet, just some of the greatest people I’ve ever met and gotten to be friends with vis-à-vis the Impact podcast, there’s so many really great people that just love what they do and love the difference they get to make and things of that such. I just want to go backwards a little bit. So you grew up in Italy up until the time you were 11 or so, because I get to travel in my role as a CEO of a recycling company all throughout Europe and also Asia. Was sustainability part of your youth in Italy and what you saw in terms of a sustainable lifestyle in Italy and in Europe more than people who were growing up that are analogous to your generation in the United States?

Francesca: Yeah, it’s a great question. Some of the things that come to mind, the food is a big part. I think food in Italian culture is huge, and back then, I think it was before the big movement around organic food and all of the innovation that’s happening in the food space in the United States today. I feel that in Italy it was really present and it was really the only way we ate and we shopped. Everything was organic and local, and that’s just sort of what I grew up with. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but I think moving here now, there’s more of an appreciation for things like regenerative agriculture and organic food and food made with more sustainable ingredients and so forth. So it’s one of those interesting things that, again, at the time growing up maybe took it for granted and helps make the food taste amazing, obviously when you’re using really, really good ingredients. But now I think shifting here and fast forwarding many years later, and as I have daughters of my own, just that sort of conscious thinking around how can I feed them the best ingredients possible and how do I get my hands on them and really becoming more educated on what’s out there. That’s one of the things that comes to mind of…

John: My generation didn’t have any classic education in the United States, but what I see if people, my generation, and then of course your generation grew up with that. Culturally speaking, generationally speaking, it was a much bigger deal in Europe before it was in the United States. But now with your generation taking over here in the United States, it’s the big thing now. I have a daughter your age who has also a daughter, and again, like you, she wants to eat the best for herself and to lead her family, but also have her daughter eat the best things as well. It’s a huge shift I’m seeing in eating habits and everything else here in the United States.

Francesca: Yeah, absolutely. Then you couple that with certain cities, especially in Europe, are very walking friendly, right? You’ll walk a lot throughout the day. You’re hardly ever in a car unless you really do have to commute far and I think that’s one other shift here, obviously in the United States as we don’t have as much of that unless you’re centrally placed in a very urban location where you can do that. So just thinking about some of those things that impact your everyday life and how you can make more conscious choices around some of those things.

John: Yeah, I think, I know one at least of the Blue Zones is in Italy, so with all that walking and things of that such, so you’re definitely right about that. What I’d love is you stepped into this role four years ago with this proverbial blank slate, which can be very exciting, very daunting at the same time. Talk a little bit about what informed you, people came out, the fraternity came out to support and say, tell us how we can help you. But how did your decision making start in terms of information gathering and then decision making on what topics to tackle first? Because you and I know sustainability could be this narrow or this wide, and it’s left up to your leadership to decide where you’re going to start making progress.

Francesca: Yeah, it’s a great question and one that I’ve talked to peers in the industry as well. I think there are a lot of us who have been in the same boat to your point where it’s a new role, it’s a new position, a new function, what have you, and you’re left to create everything from scratch, which is both exciting and sometimes a little terrifying.

John: Right. Of course.

Francesca: For me, one of the benefits I had stepping into this role is again, having been at Petco for, it’ll be almost, I think eight years coming up here pretty soon, I already had a lot of those internal relationships established, which was great. It was like one less thing I had to really do at the start is get to know all my partners. I already had that foundation to start from. So that was really wonderful and a huge benefit. One of the priorities for me was rather than spending a lot of time, a year developing the most perfect ESG strategy and then launching things, I wanted to start gaining momentum early on. The way in which I did that was partner with a lot of different teams at Petco who had some way, shape or form a hand in touching sustainability. So that would include partners, like focus on our energy team, partners in our merchandising and outsourcing team, and really working with these groups to say, is there something we can do? What is the low hanging fruit that we can start to do even tomorrow that would make us move into a more sustainable direction? So how do we start to really get that flywheel going, whether it’s finding unique ways to reduce energy in our stores or working with the product teams to say, if we start considering maybe some recycled fabrics for these dog beds, what would that look like? Let’s just start learning and exploring and seeing what we can do. So I think that was a big part of getting that flywheel going. One other thing I did was I fully recognized as a team of one really, there’s only so much I can do across the entire company and so I think one of the big things that was really important for me was to find those passionate advocates within the company. So I talked a little bit about some of those emails I got the first week I started in this job, and I kind of used that to my advantage. I sort of handpicked folks that I knew were really passionate about this, who sat in departments within the company that had the potential to make pretty big impact from a sustainability perspective. I basically created what I call our sustainability task force, which is a group of about 18 different representatives at Petco. We meet on a regular basis and they sort of act as department captains for sustainability. So that was a really great way to start getting others into the mix and really having them also lead and ideate around where can we start to make a difference so that together we can really drive that impact forward versus me trying to do that from the outside in and trying to sear and push everyone in that direction. So those are just some things that right out of the gate I did to at least set up the internal structure and the internal mechanism to get things going. From a priority perspective, I think this is a really great question, and to your point, John, sustainability is a really broad word. It can mean a lot of different things from environmental sustainability, social sustainability, everything in between. For Petco, one of the things that kind of goes without saying, but we really see ourselves as a health and wellness company for pets, pet parents and what we call partners, which are our employees. So just kind starting with that and really understanding if that’s our mission is how do we improve the health and wellness of pet lives? How do we make that really central to our ESG strategy? But then also think about how we can do that in the most responsible way from an environmental and social perspective so that the two strategies aren’t separate. They’re really one and the same where sustainability is embedded directly in the middle of that because really what we believe is without a healthy planet, obviously there will be no healthy relationship between pets and their pet parents, so it really has to be integrated. But we led a best practice ESG materiality assessment where we surveyed over a thousand pet parents. We surveyed NGOs, our internal leadership team, a variety of stakeholders to really uncover not just what are the biggest sustainability opportunities, but where do people feel like Petco is positioned uniquely to actually make a difference in those areas. So that helped us uncover those top most material ESG topics.

John: Great. For our listeners and viewers who’ve just joined us, we’ve got Francesca Mahoney with us today. She’s the vice president of sustainability at Petco. You can find Francesca and her colleagues in all the great work they’re doing in sustainability and ESG at We all know and love Petco. Petco Park is two blocks from my condo in downtown San Diego. I love Petco Park. Talk a little bit about how big is Petco, sustainability, as we just discussed, can be a very broad topic, but you got to start somewhere on the journey. When you are dealing with the beginnings of creating the pillars of how you were going to go about making progress in ESG and sustainability at Petco, what were you dealing with in terms of physicality and in terms of a number of employees?

Francesca: Yeah, great question. So Petco as a company, we operate more than 1500 stores across the US, Mexico and Puerto Rico. So we have a really significant physical footprint when you think about it from that angle. In addition to that, we have a growing network of vet hospitals. We offer services like dog training and grooming. We have an aquatics portion of our store and so really when you think about the way our business is structured, we’re not really just a store that sells product. We really see ourselves as being the one-stop shop, the destination for pet parents to take care of all of their pet’s health and wellness needs. So from a sustainability lens, you think about how can we make products more sustainable? Well, that can look one way for pet food, it can look a very different way for things like pet leashes and dog beds and dog bowls and so forth and that’s really just the physical products we sell. But then when you take into account things like our grooming business that unlike other retailers, we use water in our operations because we have to bathe dogs and we have an aquatics business. So part of the sustainability focus there is what can we do to actually reduce water consumption? So as one example, we’ve installed in some of our stores, these water bathing systems for dogs, for the grooming salons that actually use less water and help the groomer have faster grooms. So it’s just one example of when we think about, to your point, the scale and the size of Petco, what are all the different things to consider when really looking at the opportunity from a sustainability perspective?

John: Talk a little bit about sustainable products. How important is, obviously sustainability in ESG has to do with scope one, scope two, scope three. When you’re dealing with your outside vendors who are providing you products, Petco sells thousands and thousands of products. How do you start nudging your product vendors in the right direction towards sustainability and your goals as well?

Francesca: Yeah, great question. For us, you’re right, products is a huge piece of our business. Early on in my role, I had the privilege of meeting with a lot of our strategic vendor partners, some of which are pretty far along, quite frankly, on their sustainability journey. They’ve set their own climate targets, they’ve gotten net zero goals out there, and others maybe have never heard of the word sustainability. So we sort of have a really wide array of vendors and I think to my earlier point about just the sheer number of categories that we play in, that’s naturally going to happen. So one of the things that I knew early on we needed to do in part to kind of signal to the industry that we are really committed to sustainability, but also to try and really move the rest of the pet industry and kind of encourage vendors to follow suit, was to set a really bold and ambitious product target. So in 2021, we committed to making half of our product assortment sustainable by the end of 2025. Again, that really catalyzed a lot of internal teams to start to take action and really start thinking about how are we actually going to achieve that. But what’s beautiful about the commitment and the way we’ve structured it is that it really, it’s sort of developed with five different pillars in mind to create flexibility in how our vendor partners can help us meet this goal. So the first pillar that we have is all around responsible manufacturing. This is really celebrating products and brands who maybe be corp certified for example, or have zero waste goals in place. So really kind of highlighting those products for our consumers that are made more responsibly. So that’s one of the key pillars. The second pillar is around sustainably sourced materials. So this really applies to our supplies business, but it includes everything from pet supplies made with recycled content or might be FSI certified if there are kind of more paper-based products and so forth. Then we have a pillar all around ingredients, and it’s a really fascinating, interesting space to see what’s happening, whether it’s plant-based foods or products made with alternative proteins. Like we carry this product, the brand is called Jiminy’s, and instead of using traditional chicken or beef in those recipes, they use cricket powder. Crickets are really high protein or really high source protein, and they found a way to make the food tastes amazing for the pet, but also deliver the same, if not more, even protein content. Obviously you can grow a lot more crickets in a very small space than you can at chicken and cows and so forth. So really some cool innovation happening on that front. The fourth pillar is all around packaging. So really when we looked at this, we said there’s certainly the product that we sell, but there’s also products that we’re really proud of that we sell with very little and sometimes no packaging at all. We have a bulk treat bar, for example, we have a, what’s really cool is one of our own brands is called Sofres. We have a refillable litter station in our store. So you can come in with your plastic pail, refill your CAD litter and take it home rather than buying a new big plastic pail every time you have to do that. So we’re really proud of a lot of work in progress that’s happened on the packaging side. Then the last one, which again goes without saying is really near and dear to us and really embedded within our DNA is animal welfare. So how do we also recognize products and vendors who are making progress in things like cruelty-free shampoos, no animal testing, those sorts of things. So it’s a really important one for us and one that and consumer surveys came up as one of the top priority areas for sustainability.

John: Francesca resources are limited in every organization. How do you go about with those thousands of products that you’re looking to sell at Petco? How big is your team or do you use outside NGOs and other certifying bodies to qualify these products as sustainable? Is it inside, is it outside, or is it a combination thereof?

Francesca: Great question. It’s a combination. We partner closely with an organization called the Pet Sustainability Coalition. They’ve been an amazing thought partner for us, and that’s a perfect example of how we can tap into outside support and really more outside expertise than anything to say, what are you guys hearing in the pet industry in terms of what’s most important for those sustainability topics? So they’ve helped us really craft what these should be, but honestly, a lot of it really comes from the consumer. We know that 92% of our consumers say that sustainability is important when they choose a brand and when you think about that number, it’s actually even higher for Petco shoppers. There’s sort of this over indexing that happens when we survey our Petco shoppers where they over index in caring about sustainability even more than the general pet consumer. So taking that into account, we really leaned on those customer insights to help inform the sustainable product commitment and all of the pillars that sit within it to make sure that, you know what if the top issues are animal welfare and waste management and packaging, how do we really lead with that since we know that at the end of the day we need our customers to buy more of those products so we can keep making that progress that we need to make?

John: So you mentioned the Pet Sustainability Coalition, one of the coolest things that I’ve learned in my sustainability journey, but also be coming, doing this show and having great people like you on the show and other members of your fraternity is that, truly sustainability is such a collaborative effort.

Francesca: Absolutely.

John: And we all really just share this one environment anyway, and it’s not a zero sum game, and those who really reach out and help one another, and it seems to be more reaching out and helping one another in the sustainability practices, in the ESG practice than I’ve almost seen in any other industry before. So it’s so interesting how many sustainability executives like you and leaders like you choose to collaborate with outside organizations to further their goals of their organization, but at the end of the day, make the world a better place and make the environment a much better and cleaner place as well.

Francesca: Absolutely. No, a 100%. When I am speaking at conferences on this topic, whether it’s within the pet industry or not, there is always a sense of non-competitiveness because on your point, we’re all trying to tackle the same things and at the end of the day, if we are making progress as a company, that’s amazing. If we can make progress as an industry, that’s even more incredible, and that’s really the ultimate vision and the ultimate goal. So I definitely feel a sense of that sort of fraternity feeling when I’m meeting with my peers in sustainability, regardless of what retailer they’re with or what industry they’re in. So definitely agree with that.

John: As you say, as Petco wins, the world wins, the environment wins. As the industry wins, the environment wins. So these wins all around as you continue to succeed in your journey at Petco.

Francesca: Exactly, and I think when we think about the internal engagement piece and how we build that advocacy, certainly the sustainability task force, which I mentioned is a big part of that, it’s finding that passion in the ground and just giving it a stage and a position to keep moving forward and celebrating those team successes and wins and really creating that flywheel like I mentioned. We also have a sustainability executive steering committee in place. So really there’s the bottoms up and how do we get the momentum going, but then how do we get the advocacy from the top as well? So we have a committee of about 13 different executive level sustainability leaders who I meet with on a regular basis. We talk about some of those important issues that are happening, whether it’s climate regulation, how are we progressing in our product commitment and so forth, but they can then in turn help be an advocate and a voice among their own teams as we’re trying to really drive the full company in this direction.

John: You mentioned a product and getting sustainable products on your shelves, where are you in that goal right now? What percentage of your products are sustainable and you reaching the goals that you set out a few years back?

Francesca: Yeah, we’re definitely making progress. It’s been great to see. We know we’ve got a little bit more time, obviously between now and the end of 2025. I’d say we’re on pace. We want to keep things accelerating and keep things moving and we’re also working on just more robust reporting, so we can even get really granular, not just what’s happening at a total Petco level, but how do we really break that down by business unit and really understand where we can start to accelerate some areas a little bit further. But in all really pleased with the way the team has come together and innovated. I meet with our product development teams, for example, and they’re so excited and so jazzed about this, and now this commitment, again has been almost fuel for them to really pursue this in a bigger way. So it’s been really exciting to see.

John: Shifting from products operations, you mentioned some of the innovative ideas you had because of your aquatics with regards to water conservation. Talk a little bit about the challenges of having 1500 or so locations across the United States in most states, including Puerto Rico, and how really the states almost when it comes to regulation, energy costs, green energy opportunities, solar opportunities, and all sorts of other operational opportunities, but yet challenges almost operate as different countries and how do you harmonize that as you try to build a cohesive plan and create cohesive and consistent ways to grow in your sustainability journey at Petco?

Francesca: Yeah, it’s a great question and a really timely one. Certainly there’s state by state regulations that we have to really keep a close eye on, and our energy team, they’ve embedded that in their process to make sure we are adhering and following what the guidance is on a state level. Then I’d say more broadly, as I’m sure you are very familiar with other guests you’ve had on the show, but there’s a lot of climate legislation coming down, especially in the state of California and so I think some of those things not only are obviously in place to help companies make more progress, but I think internally they’re also helping us really increase the priority of some of these things that we’ve been wanting to do for a while. So whether that’s looking at how we deploy more efficient HVAC systems in our pet care centers and our store locations, or think about, to your point, solar, are there opportunities for us to look at solar, recognizing that a lot of the buildings where we operate are leased properties. So there’s a lot of complexity that comes with that, but I think some of those regulations are, I’m personally glad they’re in place and that they’re coming because it’s only going to further accelerate some of the things that we’ve been wanting to do.

John: Do you choose X amount of stores to beta test your different ideas when it comes to operational sustainability opportunities?

Francesca: Yeah, good question. Sometimes if there is that low hanging fruit approach that I mentioned earlier, if there’s a quick idea that we feel good about deploying everywhere we will, but generally speaking, we do like to take a subset of stores and run a pilot. So one example is last April we actually deployed a recycling pilot in select stores where we’re collecting plastic bags, plastic films, if you think about even just the outer wrap on paper towels and things like that. But trying to find a way for customers to bring in their plastic waste and then also collecting plastic waste that’s generated in our stock rooms, but really finding a good recycling outlet for that. So we’ve been partnering with a company called Trex who is helping us collect all of these materials, and then they in turn convert those into residential and commercial composite decking material. So kind of finding a new life for some of this plastic. We launched that in about 40 stores or so and really the whole test was operationally like, can we make this work and what’s sort of the logistics process to get some of this waste back to our distribution centers so it can get picked up? We’ve had a lot of learnings. So that’s an example of how we can start in a smaller scale, and then if the test is successful or there are things we need to modify, we’ll address those things before we launch across all of our different pet care centers.

John: Procurement managers, were part of Business 101 in time of memorial and American business history and business history across the planet. Is now diversion managers also just as important as procurement managers for the reasons you just gave?

Francesca: Yeah, it’s a great point. Certainly we always try to look at how do we address the root cause of the issue. So using the plastic example, I look at our team and I’m so proud of the fact they’ve eliminated more than 6 million plastic poly bags from our own block brand supply chain. By making a small change of how things are packaged at the forefront, we obviously can eliminate a lot more waste further downstream. But it can’t just be that we also have to really look at what’s happening at the end of life of that product or package and find ways to, whether it’s giving consumers an option to recycle or managing that waste in a more responsible way. So I think to your point, certainly there’s that sourcing procurement piece, but then again, how do we really look at what’s happening further downstream and addressing some of those waste issues?

John: Francesca, things have evolved so much with regards to the sustainability world, the ESG world, the linear to circular economy shift that we’re all living through right now. Talk a little bit about this though, about 15 years ago or so, when I would interview people and people heard the word sustainability or they listened to the show back then, they would think sustainability equaled costing me money, taking resources out of my organization that were taken away from the core mission. But when in truth though, as sustainability has evolved and leaders like you have taken charge now, sustainability truly means more resilience for the organization and in many or most cases, more profitability. Can you share and elaborate on that a little bit?

Francesca: Yeah, absolutely. Certainly there are plenty of examples that I can think of where by taking a more sustainable action, we’ve actually been able to reduce costs because a lot of times sustainability is really tied to resources, whether it’s packaging, again, using that example, we’re moving away from the amount of packaging we use. Well, that can help bring the product cost down, and I know that’s not always the case, but wherever we can, whether it’s energy usage, packaging materials that we use in our products, when we scale back on some of those things without sacrificing the quality for our pet parents, in turn, that’s going to result likely in a cost decrease. Not always the case, but whenever we can, I think it’s about starting there. Then the other point, I’d say the counterpoint to that is, we know, we have data that tells us that our customers are willing to spend more on more sustainable products. So I think our job is not only to make our products more sustainable, but how do we really tell that story and engage with them so that we can actually drive the business through these products? It doesn’t have to be a one or the other. It really is about ensuring that sustainable products can be a business driver, and we need to market those accordingly so people have the option to make that choice of if they’re going to buy these waste bags for their dog versus this brand, how do we empower them to make that choice and maybe spend a few more cents, but giving them the option to do that while driving the business.

John: Do you create a sustainability or ESG or impact report every year that then gets put up on Petco’s website?

Francesca: We do. Yep. Absolutely. It’s something that, again, in that first year of this role, I said, ”We probably should be showcasing all the great work we’re doing.” Petco was not a public company at that point, so there was no requirement for us to do so, but I’m certainly glad we did because there’s just been, like I said, an array of really great work happening, whether it’s things across animal welfare like our American Humane certification, things we’re doing from a diversity and inclusion perspective, and I was excited about really being able to package all of that good workup into a singular report. So we are in the process of publishing or drafting our next ESG report, but typically we publish those in the springtime

John: April or so, March, April is when they get public?

Francesca: Yeah. April, May timeframe. Yep, exactly.

John: But that goes to the point that great young leaders like you in ESG and sustainability now really, really are leaning on one of the main pillars being of your program transparency and not just transparency, really radical transparency, and that has led to, I think, faster and more accelerated change than anything else.

Francesca: Absolutely. One of the things that historically, maybe ESG reports were for investor communities, and certainly they’re still a big stakeholder group, but I would say I’ve interviewed candidates in my role here or in other roles at Petco, and they ask us, what is your company doing around sustainability? So we think about investors as a stakeholder group. Customers, I’d say, are one of our biggest, if not the biggest, highest priority consumer groups, but our employees and prospective employees are too and so I think when we publish things like ESG reports, we really make it known and we put ourselves out there to say, here are the things we’re really proud of. Here’s where we need to make more progress, for example. But I do think things like an ESG report really serve that dual multipurpose objective of reaching multiple stakeholders like we have never experienced before.

John: Yeah, I agree with you. I think it’s a tremendous recruiting and retention tool. Talk a little bit, you’ve been doing this four years now. A couple things, let’s go backwards, let’s go forwards. Give me one or two of your favorite wins over the last four years that you could share with our listeners and our audience, and then tell me one or two of the things you’re most excited about as 2024 gets underway that you’re allowed to talk about that you’re going to look to tackle this year.

Francesca: Yeah, great, great question. Gosh, what are you proud of column, there’s a lot of examples there that has done just a phenomenal job. I would say the product commitment has been one of the most kind of pinnacle moments for sustainability at Petco, just based on the sheer effort and volume of work that that took to get that off the ground, but also the momentum that we’re really seeing and the engagement and the enthusiasm and excitement both from our internal Petco partners, but also from our customers. So that to me has been my most proudest moments or achievements in this role, and just seeing what we can do with our vendors and all of that momentum that’s really wrapped up into that commitment has been so incredibly exciting and rewarding and looking forward to obviously, hopefully achieving that goal in 2025. So that’s one that really stands out to me. As we move ahead, again, just recognizing everything that’s happening from a climax perspective and from a Petco perspective, I feel that immense responsibility of, okay, we’ve done great work, but how do we really take it a step further? Recognizing some of those things will require investments and some hard conversations, but it’s really up to us to make sure we’re doing whatever we can, especially with our store operations, to reduce the amount of emissions that we’re outputting and so forth. Also, again, that climate legislation that we’re abiding by what is going to be required there, but also using that as a way as an accelerator for us.

John: I’m sure you’re going to be successful in everything you’re planning in 2024 and way beyond. Francesca, thanks for joining us today in the Impact Podcast. For our listeners and viewers that want to find Francesca Mahoney and her colleagues and all the great work they’re doing, SG, and sustainability, please go to Francesca, thank you for joining us today. Thank you for all the great work you and your colleagues are doing at Petco in sustainability and ESG, and most importantly, thank you for making the world a better place.

Francesca: Thank you so much for having me. Appreciate it.

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