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Coop Switzerland, Cranswick, Marks & Spencer, Migros, Noble Foods and Waitrose show leadership on farm animal welfare

News Section Icon Published 23/01/2017

UK food producer, Cranswick, and Swiss retail cooperative, Migros, join Coop Switzerland, Marks & Spencer, Noble Foods and Waitrose in attaining the highest marks for their management and reporting on farm animal welfare in the global Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) report, published today (23 January, 2017). Now in its fifth year, the BBFAW provides an annual review of how 99 of the world’s leading food companies are managing risks and opportunities associated with farm animal welfare.

The report, which is compiled in collaboration with leading animal welfare organisations Compassion in World Farming, World Animal Protection and investment firm, Coller Capital, reveals that companies are paying increased attention to farm animal welfare within their supply chains.

For example:

  • 73% of companies now have published farm animal welfare policies (compared to just 46% in 2012)
  • 65% of companies have published targets on farm animal welfare (up from 26% in 2012)

Currently, 13 companies occupy leadership positions in the Benchmark’s top two tiers. These companies demonstrate strong commitments to farm animal welfare and have established management systems and processes. They include Coop Group (Switzerland), Cranswick, Marks & Spencer, Migros, Noble Foods and Waitrose in Tier 1, and BRF, Cargill, Co-op (UK), Greggs, McDonald’s, Tesco and Unilever in Tier 2.

The report also highlights the important role being played by institutional investors in driving improvements in practice and process across the food industry.

Reflecting on these findings, BBFAW Executive Director, Nicky Amos, said: “With 26 companies moving up at least one tier since 2015, there is a clear indication that the food industry is finally starting to treat farm animal welfare as an important business issue.”

"Despite this progress, 42 of the 99 companies (including Restaurant Brands International, Domino’s Pizza Group Plc and Starbucks Corporation) appear in Tiers 5 and 6, which demonstrates that there is still much work to be done to even get farm animal welfare on the business agenda of many large global food companies.”

BBFAW Advisor, Rory Sullivan, commented: “The Benchmark shows that investors are key agents of change. They are sending a clear signal to companies that they expect food companies to effectively manage the systemic risks and opportunities posed by farm animal welfare, and it is clear that companies are responding to these expectations.”

Compassion on World Farming’s CEO, Philip Lymbery, said: “We have witnessed some monumental market shifts for animal welfare since the last BBFAW report. Stakeholders and investors are pushing this progress forwards, reflecting the wishes of the vast majority of consumers today. It is increasingly clear that this is an issue which cannot be ignored by companies and we congratulate those that are moving up the ranking and driving progress in animal welfare across the food industry.”

Jeremy Coller, Founder of Coller Capital and the FAIRR (Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return) Initiative added: “From farms to fast food chains, global investors want well managed, forward-thinking food companies. The Benchmark is an essential tool to help investors find such corporate leaders, as a company’s disclosure of farm animal welfare practices offers a valuable insight into the wider quality of corporate management.

“It’s very encouraging that 26 companies have risen up the Benchmark this year. That suggests a critical mass is building in the food sector to improve farm animal welfare management practices. The market is changing rapidly with consumers demanding higher welfare standards, regulators introducing tougher laws in areas such as antibiotic use, and investors driving change through new initiatives like FAIRR.” 


Notes to editors:

1.    The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) – now in its fifth year – has been designed to encourage higher farm animal welfare standards across the food industry. Read the full report here

2.    The Benchmark is the first global measure of farm animal welfare management, policy commitment and disclosure in food companies and is designed for use by investors, companies, NGOs and other stakeholders interested in understanding the relative performance of food companies in this area. More information on the programme can be found at

3.    In total, 99 companies were included in the 2016 assessment; 12 more than in 2015. The companies represent three primary food business sectors: (a) food retailers and wholesalers; (b) restaurants and bars (a category that includes many of the food service providers), and (c) food producers and manufacturers. The list includes listed and non-listed companies (private companies, partnerships and co-operatives).

4.    Coop Group (Switzerland), Marks & Spencer, Noble Foods, and Waitrose retain their Tier 1 position and are joined by Cranswick and Migros, which have climbed one place from Tier 2.

5.    In Tier 2 for the second year running are Co-op (UK), Unilever, and McDonald’s. BRF, Greggs and Tesco join the Tier for the first time, climbing one place from Tier 3, and Cargill which joins the Tier having climbed two tiers from Tier 4.

6.    The 26 companies that have moved up at least one tier since 2015 are: ABF, Aldi Nord, Arla Foods, BRF, Camst, Cargill, Carrefour, Costco Wholesale, Cranswick, Danish Crown, Ferrero, Greggs, Lidl, Loblaw, Mars Inc, Metro, Migros, Mitchells & Butlers, Mondelēz International, Premier Foods, SSP Group, Sysco Corp, Tesco, Wm Morrison, Vion Food Group, Wendy’s.

7.    Companies were measured on their approach to managing farm animal welfare in four areas: (1) Management Commitment and Policy, (2) Governance and Policy Implementation, (3) Leadership and Innovation, and (4) Performance Reporting and Impact. The assessments were based on information published by companies.

8.    Compassion in World Farming’s involvement in the BBFAW is kindly supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

BBFAW 2016 Press Release 24th January 2017.pdf:

Download (PDF Size 0.20MB)

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