The sixth report from the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare shows how some co-ops are leading the way in farm animal welfare.
The research analyses the farm animal welfare management and performance of the world’s largest companies across 34 criteria. The organisations featured in the report include 40 food retailers and wholesalers, 40 food producers and 30 restaurants and bars.
Following the analysis, the businesses were grouped in different tiers, according to the extent to which they prioritised farm animal welfare. The report looks at four aspects: management commitment and policy; governance and management; leadership and innovation; and performance reporting and impact.
The Co-op Group of Switzerland, Waitrose from the UK and Migros co-operative from Switzerland were classified as leaders in the field while the Co-op Group in the UK was in the second tier for making animal welfare integral to their business strategy. Danish Co-op Arla Foods also made the third tier for having an established approach to animal welfare but with more work required.
Italian retailer Co-op Italia and New Zealand co-op Fonterra were ranked in the fourth tier for making progress on implementation. French co-op chain E Leclerc was among the businesses in the sixth tier – which were assessed as presenting no evidence that the issue was on the business agenda.
Dr Rory Sullivan, expert advisor to BBFAW and co-author of the report, said: “It is clear that farm animal welfare is moving from the farm gates to the boardroom. Increasingly, food companies see farm animal welfare as a core risk and a strategic issue, featuring alongside issues such as climate change, water and public health.
“Despite this, 42 of the 110 companies covered by the Benchmark – a group which includes household names such as Kraft Heinz, Mars Inc. and Starbucks Corporation provide very limited information on their approach to farm animal welfare.”
The benchmark argues there is increased reporting of farm animal welfare performance among the companies examined and that this change was driven by consumer and customer demand. It also highlights the key barriers to progress, which include a perceived lack of customer willingness to pay for higher farm animal welfare.