Noble Foods, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Coop Group (Switzerland) Lead Global Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare

26 January 2016
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Noble Foods, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Coop Group (Switzerland) have attained the highest marks in the global Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare report, published today (26 January, 2016).

Now in its fourth year, the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) provides an annual review of how 90 of the world’s leading food companies are managing and reporting their farm animal welfare policies and practices.
The report, which is compiled in collaboration with leading animal welfare organisations Compassion in World Farming and World Animal Protection and investment firm, Coller Capital, reveals that companies are increasing the importance they attach to farm animal welfare.

For example:

  • 69% of companies now have published farm animal welfare policies (compared to just 46% in 2012)
  • 54% of companies have published targets on farm animal welfare (up from 26% in 2012)

Currently, 11 companies occupy leadership positions in the Benchmark’s top two tiers. These companies demonstrate the strongest commitments to farm animal welfare and have well developed management systems and processes. They include Marks & Spencer, Coop Group (Switzerland), Waitrose and Noble Foods in Tier 1,and The Co-operative Food (UK), J Sainsbury, Unilever, Cranswick, Marfrig, McDonald’s and Migros in Tier 2.

Reflecting on these findings, BBFAW Executive Director, Nicky Amos, said: “The results show that it is realistic for companies across the world and in all sub-sectors (retailers, wholesalers, restaurants, bars and producers) to aspire to and achieve high scores in the Benchmark and to recognise the responsibility they hold for the welfare of animals in their supply chains.”

Despite the overall progress made since 2012, some 40% of companies (including Burger King, Domino’s Pizza Group (UK) and Starbucks) provide little or no information on their approach to farm animal welfare. Nicky Amos commented: “Despite the progress we are seeing, there is clearly much work to be done to get farm animal welfare on the business agenda of many large global food companies”.

The report highlights the growing influence of global investment companies on farm animal welfare. Reflecting on the global investor collaboration on farm animal welfare convened by the BBFAW and which now has 18 investors representing over one trillion pounds in assets under management, Rory Sullivan, BBFAW Expert Advisor said: “For the first time we are seeing global investors actively engage with companies to encourage them to improve their practices and reporting on farm animal welfare. The annual Benchmark provides a strong incentive for companies to improve their disclosure and to account for their performance. As we build investor awareness and understanding of systemic risks and opportunities posed by farm animal welfare, we expect to see investor interest and, critically, action, increase over time”.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1. The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) – now in its fourth 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 www.bbfaw.com

3. The company-by-company results are presented in Attachment 1 to this release.

4. In total, 90 companies were included in the 2014 assessment; 10 more than last year. 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).

5. Marks & Spencer, Coop Group (Switzerland) and Waitrose retain their Tier 1 position and are joined by Noble Foods, which climbs one place from Tier 2.

6. In Tier 2 for the second year running are The Co-operative Food (UK), J Sainsbury, Unilever, Cranswick, McDonald’s and Migros, and Marfrig joins the Tier for the first time, climbing one place from Tier 3.

7. Retaining their Tier 3 ranking are FrieslandCampina, Groupe Danone, JBS, Nestlé, Subway, Tesco and Tyson Foods. They are joined by Barilla, BRF, Compass Group, Kaufland and Walmart who have all moved up one tier, Greggs who has moved up two tiers and Whitbread who has moved up 3 tiers.

8. Companies were measured on their approach to managing farm animal welfare in three areas: (1) Management Commitment and Policy, (2) Governance and Policy Implementation, and (3) Leadership and Innovation. For the first time this year disclosure on animal welfare performance was also scored.The assessments were based on information published by companies.

9. Compassion in World Farming and World Animal Protection actively engage with food companies to improve farm animal welfare across their operations and encourage them to report on their welfare standards and practices.

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


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