LATEST BBFAW BENCHMARK ON CORPORATE ANIMAL WELFARE PERFORMANCE SUGGESTS SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS

 

  • 72% of large food companies now report formal improvement objectives for farm animal welfare.
  • Co-op Group (Switzerland), Cranswick, Marks & Spencer, Migros and Waitrose named as global leaders on farm animal welfare

(London, 22 February 2018). FAIRR has welcomed the publication of the latest Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW), launched at the London Stock Exchange today. The sixth annual BBFAW identifies Co-op Group (Switzerland), Cranswick, Marks & Spencer, Migros and Waitrose as global leaders on farm animal welfare.

BBFAW provides an annual review of how 110 of the world’s leading food companies are reporting and managing risks and opportunities associated with farm animal welfare. The new report, which is compiled in collaboration with leading animal welfare organisations Compassion in World Farming, World Animal Protection and with investment firm, Coller Capital, reveals that companies are showing some notable progress in integrating farm animal welfare into their management and reporting processes. For example, among the 110 companies analysed:

  • 72% have published formal improvement objectives for farm animal welfare.
  • 47% have explicit board or senior management oversight of farm animal welfare.
  • 54% report at least some data on farm animal welfare issues such as the proportion of animals that are free from close confinement

Today’s report however also showed that despite this progress farm animal welfare issues still remain a significant potential investment risk. Of the 110 food companies covered by the Benchmark, 41 provide little or no information on how they manage or how they perform on farm animal welfare. These include companies such as Associated British Foods, Kraft Heinz, Mars Inc and Starbucks.

There continues to be growing investor interest in the broader risks linked to livestock production with, for example, investors managing over $4.8 trillion in assets now participating in the FAIRR Initiative. This suggest a growing market for tools, such as BBFAW, that benchmark how food companies are managing environmental, social and governance risks.

 

Jeremy Coller, CIO at Coller Capital and founder of the FAIRR Initiative, said,

“The question investors are increasingly asking global food companies is do they take the business of animal welfare seriously. Are management systems and processes in place to ensure welfare standards defend and drive corporate revenues, brand and reputation?

“From food safety to worker safety, increasing regulation to innovative reformulation, smart companies understand the risks and opportunities that animal welfare issues present, and the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare is a crucial tool to help investors sort the wheat from the chaff.  

Coller added,

“The Benchmark is driving greater transparency, improved disclosure and better performance on animal welfare as a whole, and that is good news if we are to succeed in building more sustainable global food markets.”

 

 

ENDS

 

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  • The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) is the globally recognised investor framework for assessing the quality of companies’ practices, processes and performance on farm animal welfare. It provides an annual, objective, independent assessment 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.

 

  • Through the annual benchmark, through extensive engagement programmes with investors and with companies, and through the production of guidance and other materials for companies and investors, BBFAW aims to drive higher farm animal welfare standards in the world’s leading food businesses.

 

  • The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare was founded in 2012 by leading animal welfare organisations, Compassion in World Farming and World Animal Protection. In 2014, Coller Capital joined the BBFAW as an additional partner.

 

  • The 2017 Benchmark covers 110 companies across 18 countries and three sub-sectors: food retailers and wholesalers, food producers and manufacturers, and restaurants, bars and service companies. The average score across all companies in the 2017 Benchmark was 37%, compared to 34% in 2016 and 26% in 2012. The average scores by sub-sector are broadly similar, with retailers and wholesalers scoring 37%, producers and manufacturers scoring 38% and restaurants and bars scoring 34%.

 

  • In the 2017 Benchmark, 26 companies have moved up at least one tier on BBFAW’s six tier assessment framework. These companies include Domino’s Pizza Company and JD Wetherspoon, who have both moved up three tiers, and Casino, Elior and ICA Gruppen who have moved up two tiers. Other companies that have improved their performance include: Compass Group, J Sainsbury, Kraft Heinz, REWE Group and Whitbread.

 

  • In the 2017 Benchmark, eight companies have dropped one tier. These are: Edeka Group, Ferrero, Mars Inc, New Hope Group, Noble Foods, Subway, Sysco Corporation and Wendy’s Corporation.

 

  • In a recent BBFAW survey of the companies covered by the Benchmark[1], 78% of respondents identified customer and client interest as the most important influences on their approaches to farm animal welfare. The survey identified the other important drivers of action as media interest (49%), NGO pressure (46%) and investor pressure (46%). Respondents pointed to investor support for the Global Investor Statement on Farm Animal Welfare and investor participation in the Global Investor Collaboration on Farm Animal Welfare as tangible examples of investor interest in the issue of farm animal welfare, and as enabling them to understand investor expectations in this area.

 

 

About FAIRR

The FAIRR (Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return) investor network is a Coller Initiative. It is a collaborative forum for investors that aims to raise awareness of the material impacts factory farming and poor animal welfare can have on investment portfolios, and works to help investors share knowledge and form collaborative engagements on these issues. www.fairr.org

[1] BBFAW Briefing, ‘How Companies are Using the BBFAW’ (2017)