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Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare 2015

News Section Icon Published 1/24/2016

23 US companies amongst those benchmarked to investors on farm animal welfare

Just one US company, McDonald’s, occupies one of the 11 leadership positions with regard to disclosure on farm animal welfare in the global 2015 Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare, which will be published on January 26th. Retaining their Tier 3 (out of 6) ranking are Subway and Tyson Foods. Compass Group, Aramark and Walmart are among those who have moved up one tier since last year.

Now in its fourth year, the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) provides an annual review of how the world’s leading food companies are managing and reporting their farm animal welfare policies and commitments. Of the 90 global companies reviewed, 23 are US based. The benchmark is based on publicly available information disclosed by the company and reviews transparency and accountability in the food business sector as it relates to farm animal welfare.

Reflecting on the results, 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 recognize the responsibility they hold for the welfare of animals in their supply chains.”

Highlights include:

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

“The BBFAW illustrates that farm animal welfare is increasingly important to food companies and without proper management and reporting carries tremendous business risk,” said Rachel Dreskin, spokesperson for Compassion in World Farming. She continues, “Major US food companies have begun establishing robust foundations and systems for managing animal welfare. Moving forward we will see increased focus on target setting and performance.”

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.”

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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 compiled in collaboration with leading animal welfare organizations Compassion in World Farming and World Animal Protection and investment firm, Coller Capital.
  3. 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 program can be found at bbfaw.com.
  4. The company-by-company results can be found here, and in the full report .
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Compassion in World Farming’s involvement in the BBFAW is kindly supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
  12. For further information and images, please contact Rachel Dreskin - rachel.dreskin@ciwf.org
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