Animal welfare slides down the business agenda

UK companies including Sainsbury’s and Costa fall down ranking of farm-animal welfare
Cat Rutter Pooley. The Financial Times, 22 January 2017

Big UK companies including Sainsbury’s, the supermarket, and Whitbread, the owner of Costa, the high-street coffee chain, are sliding on their commitment to animal welfare, according to a global industry benchmark.

The two high-street chains were among only eight of 99 companies to fall down the annual rankings. Sainsbury’s now lags behind its rival Tesco in its approach to farm-animal welfare, although it still performs better than Aldi and Lidl, the German discounters.

Jeremy Coller, founder of Coller Capital, a private equity firm that backs the benchmark, said investors should be cautious about the management of companies at the bottom of the rankings. “Animal welfare, like health and safety in the energy industry, is an indicator of quality of management. Investing in companies at the bottom of these rankings is a clear sign investors are taking an increased risk on a surprise value destruction.”

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