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Purina Europa: the first "Ocean Restoration Program" begins

The goal is to restore 1500 hectares of marine habitat by 2030 to counteract biodiversity loss

The ocean is essential for all life on Earth. However, due to climate change and human activities, the health of the oceans is deteriorating at an alarming rate, endangering all marine life. To ensure a sustainable future, our oceans must be protected and preserved, which is why Nestlé Purina PetCare Europe is launching its first "Ocean Restoration Program", a program to safeguard and restore ocean habitats to help combat the loss of marine biodiversity in Europe.

Purina Europa is in fact collaborating with expert bodies to contribute to the restoration of 1,500 hectares - the equivalent of approximately 3,700 football fields - of marine habitats by 2030. These habitats act as homes for many species, including fish, an integral part of the Purina's supply chain. In fact, the company uses fish by-products, the parts of the fish not consumed by humans, which represent a precious ingredient for pet food, so that nothing goes to waste.

Purina is investing in marine habitat restoration solutions with its partners across Europe, with the aim of making them effective and scalable. Each partner is dedicated to local species that contribute to the restoration of endangered marine habitats. The first phase of the program will last three years and will prioritize the research development of a measurement framework and conditions to effectively scale up recovery solutions. The second phase will start from 2026 and will focus on disseminating the best solutions.
Sea Ranger Service is developing solutions for planting seagrass meadows, which are excellent carbon stores and serve as homes for many species. Oyster Heaven is experimenting with the use of natural materials to rebuild oyster reefs, natural water filters, which remove pollutants, including excess nitrogen and help improve water quality by allowing sunlight to reach the seabed of marine plants and let them grow.

Urchinomics is removing excess sea urchins, which have invaded kelp beds since their natural predators have significantly declined. Rebalancing their numbers can help the recovery of algae, which act as a natural water purifier, providing habitat, food and energy for many marine organisms and absorbing and storing large amounts of carbon. SeaForester is using techniques such as mobile seaweed nurseries to restore rapidly disappearing forests.

All of these solutions have already been tested in various locations and have the potential to be replicated in other environments. Restoration projects will take place in France (Arcachon Bay), the Netherlands (including Zeeland), Norway (Tromsø) and Portugal (Cascais and Peniche), while further sites are being developed in Germany and in the United Kingdom. These techniques are also supported by scientific research and renowned academic organizations and place a strong emphasis on community and local stakeholder involvement. An important feature of the program is collaboration between partner organizations to address common challenges, with the aim of advancing the science and methodologies of marine habitat restoration, a challenge that requires collective commitment. For this reason, Purina is also collaborating with external partners who support the program thanks to their consultancy.

"We are pleased to launch Purina Europa's first Ocean Restoration Program," said Kerstin Schmeiduch , Director of Corporate Communications and Sustainability at Purina Europa. “The dramatic decline in marine biodiversity requires collective efforts to restore it. At Purina, we are committed to doing our part to help address the loss of marine biodiversity in our extended supply chain. Therefore, together with our partners, we are hiring an active role to help restore marine habitats on a large scale across Europe."

For his part, Rafael Lopez, Regional Director Italy and Southern Europe of Purina, commented: "It is a source of pride for us to be part of an international reality engaged in an initiative of great value such as this program, which fits into a broader range of activities that aim to safeguard the Planet and restore value to all the contexts in which we operate. We have always been committed both at an international and local level to reducing the impact of our activities and to working closely with virtuous companies that share our same objectives".

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EFA News - European Food Agency