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WSPA International: New report reveals businesses are lagging behind consumers on farm animal welfare issues

  WSPA International: New report reveals businesses are lagging behind
  consumers on farm animal welfare issues

Business Wire

LONDON -- December 9, 2013

Farm animal welfare rides high on the consumer agenda from cage-free hens to
cows on grass, but this clearly is not translating to the business boardroom
says the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare in its second Benchmark of
the global food industry.

The Benchmark, which has been designed to encourage higher farm animal welfare
standards across the food industry, covers 70 global food businesses,
including major food retailers and wholesalers, restaurants and bars, and food
producers.

The Benchmark found that while over 70% of these companies acknowledge farm
animal welfare as a business issue, only 56% have published a formal farm
animal welfare policy, just 39% describe how their board or senior management
oversee their approach to farm animal welfare, and only 41% have published
objectives and targets for farm animal welfare.

Rory Sullivan, expert advisor to the Business Benchmark comments, “A key
conclusion to be drawn from the 2013 Benchmark is that farm animal welfare
continues to be a business and reputational risk that many companies in the
food industry are not effectively managing. The fact that over half of the
companies covered by the Benchmark provide little or no information on their
approach suggests that farm animal welfare remains an immature business
issue.”

But there are encouraging signs. Programme Director, Nicky Amos, observed: “We
have seen progress in three distinct areas:

· A general increase in the number of companies identifying farm animal
welfare as a business issue. For example, we have seen a 10% rise (from 46% in
2012 to 56% in 2013) on the number of companies that have published formal
farm animal welfare policies, and a 15% rise (from 26% in 2012 to 41% in 2013)
in the number of companies that have published objectives and targets for farm
animal welfare.

· Seven companies have carved out a clear leadership position in this area:
Coop Group (Switzerland) and Marks and Spencer (the two top ranked companies)
and The Co-operative Food (UK), J Sainsbury, Marfrig, Noble Foods and
Unilever.

· Others that have demonstrated significant improvements over the past year
include Gruppo Cremonini, Nestlé, Sodexo, Wal-Mart and Waitrose.”

The Benchmark has been produced with the expertise and support of leading
animal welfare organisations, Compassion in World Farming (Compassion) and the
World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

Philip Lymbery, CEO, Compassion in World Farming, says:

“The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare has played a catalytic role in
putting farm animal welfare on the business agenda. It has pushed companies to
acknowledge farm animal welfare as a business issue and, critically, it has
forced them to take action.”

Mike Baker, CEO, World Society for the Protection of Animals, says:

“Animal welfare should play an integral part in basic food standards; I think
we are seeing more demand from both consumers and regulators for this. The
Benchmark’s effectiveness is demonstrated by the significant changes we have
seen in company performance in the last year alone, and we hope that will
continue year on year.”

Notes:

1. The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) is the first global
measure of farm animal welfare management, policy commitment and disclosure in
food companies and is designed for use by investors, companies, NGOs and other
stakeholders interested in understanding the relative performance of food
companies in this area. The results of the first Benchmark, which assessed
companies in August/September 2012, were released in February 2013, and the
results of the second Benchmark, which assessed companies in August/September
2013, were released in December 2013. More information on the programme can be
found at www.bbfaw.com.

2. The company-by-company results are presented in Attachment 1 to this
release.

3. In total, 70 companies were included in the 2013 assessment. The companies
represent the three primary food business sectors: (a) food retailers and
wholesalers; (b) restaurants and bars (a category that includes many of the
food service providers), and (c) food producers and manufacturers. The list
includes listed and non-listed companies (private companies, partnerships and
cooperatives).

4. Companies were measured on their approach to managing farm animal welfare
in three areas: (1) Management Commitment and Policy, (2)Governance and Policy
Implementation, and (3)Leadership and Innovation. The assessments were based
on information published by companies.

5. Particularly noteworthy examples of good farm animal welfare practices by
companies include:

· Marks and Spencer’s Animal Welfare Mission Statement provides information on
the Company’s policy commitments, setting out the scope of the policy, the
specific standards it works to, its expectations of farmers and other
suppliers, and its approach to product labelling.

· Sainsbury’s is the UK’s largest retailer of Freedom Food products, selling
over 60 per cent of all Freedom Food sold in the UK. Around 20 per cent of
Sainsbury’s fresh chicken sales are from Freedom Food birds, involving ten
million birds reared to higher independent welfare standards.

· Unilever has a dedicated Supplier Portal which provides guidance to
suppliers on compliance with its Sustainable Agriculture Code. These include
detailed implementation guides on Unilever’s Sustainable Livestock, Transport
and Slaughter, Sustainable Agriculture Code and Dairy requirements.

· McDonald’s UK has responded to increased consumer curiosity about where food
comes from by launching a search for ‘Quality Scouts’ - independent members of
the public who can observe what goes into McDonald’s products and post their
reports online.

· Yum! Group subsidiary, KFC, launched its ‘C is for Chicken’ website in early
2013 to engage consumers on its approach to farm animal welfare. The site
includes FAQs and a series of videos and case studies involving customers and
other third parties visiting production facilities and experiencing the
Company’s welfare systems first hands.

6. The Business Benchmark will repeat its assessment of food companies in
mid-2014 and will publish its findings in late 2014.

This information was brought to you by Cision http://news.cision.com

Contact:

For further information, please contact Kai Akram
from World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)
Media Line: 0777 2296 256
Kai Akram
Email: kaiakram@wspa-international.org
 
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