Companies named as global leaders on welfare

editorial image

The seventh annual Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare, supported by Compassion in World Farming and World Animal Protection, confirms Cranswick, Noble Foods, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Co-op Group (Switzerland), as global leaders on farm animal welfare.

However, while many of the 150 companies covered by the Benchmark have now adopted farm animal welfare policies and implemented farm animal management systems, the majority provide limited or no information on their farm animal welfare performance.

Commenting on the overall findings, Nicky Amos, Executive Director of BBFAW noted: “Company practice continues to show consistent year on year improvement. For example, 53% of companies now have explicit board or senior management oversight of farm animal welfare and 71% have published formal improvement objectives for farm animal welfare. However, these encouraging findings on management processes are not matched by performance; for example, while just over half of companies report on the proportion of animals that are free from close confinement, only one in four companies covered by the Benchmark provides any information on the proportion of animals that are stunned prior to slaughter and only one in five companies reports on live animal transport times.”

The 2018 Report demonstrates that UK companies achieved a significantly higher overall average score (61%), compared to companies from other geographic areas, including North America (28%) and Europe, excluding the UK, (34%).

Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion in World Farming commented: “This position, however, could be undermined by Brexit if existing welfare legislation is not retained in the UK. Conversely, Brexit could be an opportunity for the UK to get even further ahead if the government were to make its own animal welfare legislation, for example, by introducing a ban on caged egg production (as is the case in Germany) and banning live exports for fattening and slaughter.”

Of the 150 companies (up from 110 last year) assessed, 63 were in the Producers & Manufacturers sector, including the top 40 global producers (which represent the top 10 poultry producers) with annual revenues of over US$4.6 billion.

There were 23 new producers/manufacturers in the 2018 Benchmark with Campbell Soup Company, Hilton Food Group, Kerry Group and Hershey Co. amongst them. Overall, in the Producers & Manufacturers sector, eight companies moved up one tier, five fell by one tier, and 27 companies were non-movers.

Traditionally, the Producers & Manufacturers sector and the Retailers & Wholesalers sector have both outperformed the Restaurants & Bars sector (a category that includes many of the food service providers).

However, in 2017, the performance gap closed between them and has continued to do so this year with the average scores for the Retailers & Wholesalers sector and the Restaurants & Bars sector both being 32%. The average score for the Producers & Manufacturers sector lags slightly at 31%.