TENTH ANNUAL BUSINESS BENCHMARK ON FARM ANIMAL WELFARE: FOUR OUT OF FIVE COMPANIES HAVE POLICIES IN PLACE, BUT THE FOOD INDUSTRY MUST MOVE FASTER TO DELIVER MEANINGFUL WELFARE IMPACTS

Wednesday, 16. March 2022 09:00

New York, NY, March 16, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The tenth annual global Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) report, launched today, reveals that while companies continue to invest in animal welfare, they are too slow in delivering meaningful welfare impacts on the ground.  

BBFAW – the leading global measure of policy commitment, performance and disclosure on animal welfare in food companies – is supported by founding partner, Compassion in World Farming and supporting partner, FOUR PAWS, and is designed to help drive higher farm animal welfare standards in the world’s leading food businesses and provide a benchmark to inform investor choices.

Worldwide, the 2021 report reveals that of the 150 companies evaluated:

  • 134 (89%) now acknowledge farm animal welfare as a business issue (compared to 71% of the 68 companies evaluated in 2012)
  • 122 companies (81%) have formal policies on farm animal welfare (compared to 46% of companies in 2012)
  • 119 companies (79%) have published formal objectives and targets for animal welfare (compared to just 26% of companies in 2012).
  • The benchmark’s top tier comprises two food retailers and two food producers – Marks and Spencer, Waitrose, Noble Foods, and Premier Foods.

Despite these positive outcomes, the new BBFAW Impact Rating introduced in 2021 – where companies are ranked A-F on the 10 performance impact questions – shows that the implementation of animal welfare improvements continues to lag policies and governance. For example, while the most widely reported performance impact data relates to cage- free production for laying hens – where 88 companies (59%) report some data – only 23 companies (15%) report that 60% or more of the laying hens in their global supply chains are cage-free.

There remains a stark disconnect between many companies’ disclosure of management processes and the subsequent impact on farm animal welfare in their supply chains. None of the evaluated companies achieved an ’A’ Impact Rating and only five companies – Greggs PLC, Marks & Spencer PLC, Noble Foods, Premier Foods PLC, and Waitrose – achieved a ‘B’ Impact Rating. This indicates that companies are declaring improved welfare impacts for a significant proportion of farm animals in their global supply chains. In fact, 85% of the 150 companies evaluated achieve an ‘E’ or ‘F’ Impact Rating, suggesting that these companies are failing to demonstrate improved welfare impacts for farm animals in their global supply chains.

The 2021 benchmark doubled down on companies’ Performance Reporting and Impact by increasing the weighting of this section to 45% of the total score available. This increased focus on impact resulted in 36 companies dropping a tier.  However, given the scale of changes introduced in 2021, it is noteworthy that six companies improved their score sufficiently to increase their ranking by one tier.

Nicky Amos, Executive Director of the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare and Managing Director of Chronos Sustainability said: “The BBFAW set out in 2012 to put farm animal welfare on the business and investor agenda and to significantly advance corporate management practice and disclosure on the issue. Ten years on, these objectives have been realized. Today, around 80% of the 150 companies assessed by BBFAW have strengthened their governance of farm animal welfare through formal policy commitments, objectives and targets. While this provides a strong foundation for action, companies need to demonstrate that their investments in farm animal welfare are delivering positive welfare impacts for animals on the ground.”  

Ben Williamson, U.S. Executive Director at Compassion in World Farming, said: “A decade on, it’s great to see BBFAW continue to deliver against its mission and make significant progress in getting companies to invest in animal welfare. Yet, it’s disappointing that these policy commitments are not delivering meaningful improvements for animals as quickly as they should. Our focus now must be on ensuring that companies in the U.S. and across the globe really do drive forward and deliver substantial and measurable welfare improvements for farm animals. This means making demonstrable progress in their supply chains: for example, moving away from keeping animals in confinement systems such as cages and crates, and towards more humane and sustainable husbandry practices, to help create a food system that works for animals, people, and the planet.”

Josef Pfabigan, CEO, FOUR PAWS, said:

“The tenth Business Benchmark on Animal Welfare (BBFAW) is out – this marks ten years of crucial work on improving farm animal welfare in the world’s leading food businesses. FOUR PAWS is proud to be a supporting partner of BBFAW, and to be working closely on this with the BBFAW’s founding partner, Compassion in World Farming. Ten years in, an increasing number of companies have at least formal policies in place to better take care of animals in their supply chains. What’s missing is evidence on how they are translating this into concrete actions towards animal welfare. This is an urgent matter, as livestock farming is a major driver of the climate crisis. The industry therefore has a responsibility to lead the way so consumers can follow, for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding.” 

ENDS

For further information please contact

Amanda Williams 
Chronos Sustainability (BBFAW Secretariat)
T: 07725 329 314
amanda@chronossustainability.com

Notes to Editors 

  1. The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) is the globally recognized investor framework for assessing the quality of companies’ practices, processes and performance on farm animal welfare.
  2. The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare, founded in 2012, is supported by its founding partner, Compassion in World Farming and its supporting partner, FOUR PAWS.
  3. BBFAW provides an annual, independent assessment of farm animal welfare management and performance in global food companies. It enables investors, companies, NGOs and other stakeholders to understand corporate practice and performance on farm animal welfare. More information on the program can be found at www.bbfaw.com
  4. Through the annual benchmark, extensive engagement programs with investors and with companies, and the production of guidance and other materials for companies and investors, BBFAW has driven higher farm animal welfare standards across the world’s leading food businesses.
  5. BBFAW 2021 is the tenth annual report from the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare. It analyses the farm animal welfare management and performance of 150 of the world’s largest food companies, across 37 distinct, objective criteria. As such, it is the most authoritative and comprehensive global account of corporate practice on farm animal welfare.
  6. The 2021 Benchmark covers 150 global food companies across 24 countries:

53 Retailers and Wholesalers, 63 Producers and Manufacturers, and 34 Restaurants and Bars. The list includes listed and non-listed companies.

  1. Companies were assessed on their approach to managing farm animal welfare in four areas: (1) Management Commitment, (2) Governance and Management, (3) Innovation and Leadership, and (4) Performance Reporting and Impact.
  2. In line with the BBFAW’s objective to drive improvements in the welfare of animals farmed for food, the overall weighting of the Performance Reporting and Impact section was increased to 45% of the total score in 2021. The scoring approach for the 10 Impact questions (Q28-37) was also modified to provide additional points for companies who reported partial but substantial performance data. Additionally, the focus of two questions (Q14 and Q27) was changed to remove the potential for double scoring. Specifically, Q14 was focused on explanations of progress against objectives and targets, and Q27 was focused on explanations of progress in performance related to welfare outcome measures. These changes to the BBFAW methodology have resulted in 36 companies dropping a tier. Noteworthy, given the scale of changes introduced in 2021, six companies have improved their score sufficiently to increase their ranking by one tier.
  3. Company assessments were based on information published by companies on the date of their assessments. All companies were assessed during the period from 1st August to 30th September 2021.

About The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare

The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) is the leading global measure of farm animal welfare management, policy commitment, performance and disclosure in food companies. It enables investors, companies, NGOs and other stakeholders to understand corporate practice and performance on farm animal welfare, and it drives – directly and through the efforts of others – corporate improvements in the welfare of animals reared for food.

The BBFAW Secretariat maintains the Global Investor Statement on Farm Animal Welfare and convenes the Global Investor Collaboration on Farm Animal Welfare, a collaborative engagement between major institutional investors and food companies on the issue of farm animal welfare. In addition, the BBFAW Secretariat manages extensive engagement programs with companies and with investors and provides practical guidance and tools for companies and for investors on key animal welfare issues.

The program is supported by the BBFAW’s founding partner, Compassion in World Farming and supporting partner, FOUR PAWS, who provide technical expertise, guidance, funding and practical resources, alongside supporting the assessed food businesses with training, programmatic expertise and consultancy engagement.

More information on the program can be found at www.bbfaw.com

About Compassion in World Farming

Compassion in World Farming is the leading farm animal welfare charity advancing the wellbeing of farm animals and their integration into a more humane sustainable food system, through advocacy, political lobbying and positive corporate engagement. The Food Business program works in partnership with major food companies to raise baseline standards for animal welfare throughout their global supply, and to rebalance their animal footprint in a food system fit for the future. The team offers strategic advice and expert technical support for the development, implementation and communication of higher welfare policies and practices, and, increasingly, solutions and frameworks for a more humane sustainable food system.

Compassion engages directly with many of the companies evaluated in the BBFAW to highlight and support with policy development, welfare improvement and transparent reporting. The Food Business team uses the Benchmark alongside Compassion’s other tools such as the Supermarket Survey, its Awards program, EggTrack, and its advisory services to help companies understand how they are performing relative to their peers, to identify areas and mechanisms for continuous improvement, and to highlight sources of risk and advantage.

More information on Compassion in World Farming can be found at: www.ciwf.com. More information on the work of the Food Business team at Compassion in World Farming can be found at: www.compassioninfoodbusiness.com

About FOUR PAWS

FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organization for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler, the organization advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.

More information on FOUR PAWS can be found at: www.four-paws.org.

ENDS ALL


Ronnika A. McFall, APR
Compassion in World Farming
6317108224
ronnika.mcfall@ciwf.org
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