Retailers Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Coop Switzerland, as well as producers Cranswick and Noble Foods, have been named as 'global leaders' on farm animal welfare by the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare's (BBFAW) 2019 report.
The report analysed 150 global food companies in terms of policy commitment, performance and disclosure on animal welfare, and was supported by Compassion in World Farming and World Animal Protection.
According to the 2019 report, three fifths (60%) of the world's leading food companies now have formal animal welfare policies in place, as well as sufficient management processes for ensuring said policies are effectively deployed internally and throughout their supply chains.
However, BBFAW added that the fact that 40% of the 150 companies still provide little to no information on how they are managing the risks associated with animal welfare indicates that progress is 'still too slow'.
“The 2019 findings demonstrate that the BBFAW continues to be an important driver of change," commented BBFAW executive director Nicky Amos.
"An increasing number of companies are using the annual benchmark to drive continuous improvement in farm animal welfare practices, performance and disclosure. However, it is clear there is a great deal more to do if farm animal welfare is to become institutionalised across the global food industry.”
The BBFAW ranking rates businesses in terms of four 'tiers', depending on their level of commitment to animal welfare guidelines and transparency.
Of the 52 retailers and wholesalers that were featured in this year's report, the retailers that moved up by at least one tier included Aldi Süd, Auchan, Colruyt, Coopérative U Enseigne, E Leclerc, Edeka Group, Jeronimo Martins, Les Mousquetaires and Migros.
Non-movers in this year's report included the Co-operative Food (UK), Costco, Woolworths, Carrefour SA and IKEA, while retailers that dropped a tier included Lidl and Loblaw Companies Ltd.
Other firms to drop by a tier included KraftHeinz, Marfrig Alimentos SA, Mondelēz International, Unilever NV, Vion Food Group and Dunkin’ Brands, with five of these directly affected by changes in the weighting model used by BBFAW.
"The BBFAW’s 2019 company and investor surveys tell us that customer interest in animal welfare is the primary driver for business action for 79% of companies, while 82% of investors consider animal welfare to be an investment risk," Amos continued.
"Companies that fail to take responsibility for ensuring the welfare of animals farmed for food can expect heightened scrutiny from their business customers and partners, from investors, and from consumers.”
This is the eighth year of the BBFAW's Benchmark report, with 55 of the companies in the list having featured in every edition since 2012. Of these, 44 have moved up at least one tier, while 12 have moved up three tiers.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.