Launched today (2 April 2020), the eighth annual Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare, supported by Compassion in World Farming and World Animal Protection, confirms Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Migros, Cranswick, Noble Foods and Co-op Group (Switzerland), as global leaders on farm animal welfare.
The 2019 Benchmark, which analysed 150 global food companies across 24 countries, sees Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Cranswick, Noble Foods and Co-op Group (Switzerland) retain their Tier 1 position, and Migros moving up into Tier 1 from Tier 2.
The Benchmark reports that 60% of the world’s leading food companies now have formal farm animal welfare policies and appropriate management processes for ensuring they are effectively deployed internally and throughout their supply chains.
However, it warns that progress is still too slow with 40% of the 150 companies still appearing in the bottom tiers, providing little or no information about how they are managing the risks and opportunities associated with farm animal welfare.
Nicky Amos, Executive Director of the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare, said: “The 2019 findings demonstrate that the BBFAW continues to be an important driver of change. 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.”
“In 2019, the rise in consumer and investor interest, coupled with increasing pressure on suppliers from food companies signals a ‘perfect storm’ for moving the dial on farm animal welfare. Our 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. 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.”
The report shows that the UK continues to lead the global food industry on farm animal welfare management, reporting and performance. UK companies achieved an average score of 64% compared to 40% for companies in Europe (excluding the UK), and 34% for all companies covered by the Benchmark. This overall average has gone up from 32% in 2018.
The Restaurants & Bars sector has started to once again lag behind the Retailers and Producer sectors. While these both improved their average overall scores to 35% (from 32% and 31% respectively in 2018), the Restaurants & Bars sector score has remained static at 32%.
- 150 global food companies across 24 countries were included in the 2019 assessment
- 30 companies have moved up at least one tier in the league table since 2018. This is the largest year-on-year increase we have seen since the Benchmark was established in 2012.
- 8 companies fell by one tier - these include: Lidl, Loblaw, KraftHeinz, Marfrig Alimentos SA, Mondelēz International, Unilever NV, Vion Food Group, Dunkin’ Brands. Of these, five were directly impacted by the changes in weighting made in the 2019 Benchmark*.
- 52 companies (with combined revenues of US$2.5 trillion) were benchmarked in the Retailers & Wholesalers sector in 2019, with 10 companies moving up at least one tier in the league table, and 2 moving down.
- 63 companies (with combined revenues of US$500 billion) were benchmarked in the Producers & Manufacturers sector in 2019, with 15 companies moving up at least one tier in the league table, and 1 moving down.
- 35 companies (with combined retail revenues of US$220 billion) were benchmarked in the Restaurants & Bars sector in 2019, with 5 companies moving up at least one tier in the league table, and 5 moving down.
- The UK has significantly higher animal welfare scores (64%) compared to companies from other geographic areas, including Europe (excluding the UK) at 40%, and North America (29%).
- The number of companies that are considered to have farm animal welfare as an integral part of their business strategy has grown significantly over the eight Benchmark cycles, from 3 (out of 68) in 2012 to 22 (out of 150) in 2019.
*In line with the BBFAW’s ambition to drive further improvements in the welfare of animals farmed for food, the emphasis on the performance impact questions was increased this year within the performance reporting and impact section of BBFAW.
Accelerating action on farm animal welfare
The Benchmark is a long-term change initiative which is showing definite signs of progress. Of the 55 food companies that have been continuously benchmarked since 2012, 44 (80%) have moved up at least one tier. Further analysis shows that of these, 14 (25%) have moved up one tier, 18 (33%) have moved up two tiers, and 12 (22%) have moved up three tiers.
Furthermore, the average score for these trend companies has improved from 25% in 2012 to 50% in 2019; the average for all companies in 2019 is 34%. These improvements are even more striking given this tightening of the Benchmark criteria over time and these companies should be congratulated.
The Benchmark is increasingly recognised and quoted as THE measurement of farm animal welfare standards by the world’s leading food businesses and is respected by financial investors as a trustworthy authority.
Compassion is proud to have worked in depth on the animal welfare policies, practices and performance of 13 of the 30 companies that have improved their tier ranking this year – most notably those that appear in Tiers 1 and 2 of the Benchmark - and with three companies that have maintained their position within BBFAW.
There is still much work to be done, but there appears to be both an appetite and a willingness for change within the food industry, the financial sector and crucially amongst consumers who are a key driving force behind it.
Philip Lymbery, Global CEO at Compassion in World Farming commented: “For the last eight years, the Benchmark has been instrumental in encouraging global food businesses to adopt new policies on farm animal welfare. Now, the onus is on companies demonstrating strong performance to implement these policies, by for example, making sure that cage-free systems are fit for purpose and delivered in a timely fashion.”
To find out more about the Benchmark visit www.bbfaw.com.