Whitbread plc

FAIRR Commentary

Whitbread has a strong overarching policy on antibiotics use that is focused only on critically important antibiotics to human medicine that covers all relevant species, markets and suppliers. The company has strengthened its policy to use stronger language and in terms of implementation, the company has developed species-specific policies that take into consideration the different environments in which animals are raised for more effective implementation. Supplier compliance is being assessed and monitored through third-party auditing. This is ongoing and Whitbread has indicated that it is aiming to publicly report on progress for at least one species by 2020.  We welcome their positive engagement on the issue.

FAIRR Recommendations

We are encouraged by Whitbread’s commitment to antibiotics stewardship. However, we would encourage the company to further strengthen their programme by:

  • Extending the scope of their policy beyond critically important antibiotics in order to phase out the routine use of all antibiotics and/ or only use antibiotics when there is a disease present and administered by a veterinarian.
  • Setting targets and timelines for implementation across all relevant species.
  • Reporting more comprehensively and publicly on implementation progress including antibiotics use.

Company Comment

  • As you have observed Whitbread are focusing on reducing antibiotic use across our business. At present our resources are directed at ensuring that in addition to our existing overarching policy that we have robust policies for all animal species. This process requires the policies to undergo a consultation process with suppliers and pilot audit before the final policy is published and audited against. Completion of this will ensure we have clearly defined requirements for the use of antibiotics under veterinary supervision for all species. Once we have welfare policies in place for all species, we can consider extending the antibiotic scope beyond antibiotics critically important to human medicine.
  • As we continue working to reduce the number of suppliers of animal products and increase the number of published policies and completed audits, we will consider setting timelines for implementation by species. We recognise that this is important but until we have more clarity regarding the scale of the task it is difficult to set time-based targets.
  • We currently publish animal welfare key performance indicators on our website which includes detail of implementation progress of animal welfare policies by species. We acknowledge there is no specific information regarding antibiotic use, and we will consider how we include this in future once we have completed our welfare implementation programme as previously outlined.

See the company response to our engagement here.