Where Do Aussie Supermarkets Rank on Farm Animal Welfare?
1 February 2017 at 8:47 am
An international benchmark of leading food companies on farm animal welfare found Woolworths is making progress while Coles has welfare on its agenda but little evidence of implementation.
The 2016 Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) has ranked Australia’s major supermarkets according to how they manage and report risks and opportunities associated with farm animal welfare.
The annual report, which ranked 99 companies, is compiled in collaboration with leading animal welfare organisations Compassion in World Farming and World Animal Protection, and investment firm Coller Capital.
Woolworths was ranked as tier four and Wesfarmers, which operates as Coles, as tier five. There are six tiers, with the last showing no evidence of animal welfare on a company’s agenda.
Globally, only 13 companies are in the “leadership positions” in the benchmark’s top two tiers, demonstrating a strong commitment to farm animal welfare, and having established management systems and process.
These include Marks & Spencer, McDonald’s, Tesco and Unilever.
BBFAW executive director Nick Amos said, overall, this year’s results revealed that companies were paying increased attention to farm animal welfare within their supply chains.
“With 26 companies moving up at least one tier since 2015, there is a clear indication that the food industry is finally starting to treat farm animal welfare as an important business issue,” Amos said.
“Despite this progress, 42 of the 99 companies… appear in tiers five and six, which demonstrates that there is still much work to be done to even get farm animal welfare on the business agenda of many large global food companies.”
This year 73 per cent of companies have published farm animal welfare policies, compared to 46 per cent in 2012, and 65 per cent of companies have published targets on animal welfare, up from 26 per cent in 2012.
The report also highlighted the important role being played by institutional investors in driving improvements in practice and process across the food industry.
“The benchmark shows that investors are key agents of change. They are sending a clear signal to companies that they expect food companies to effectively manage the systemic risks and opportunities posed by farm animal welfare, and it is clear that companies are responding to these expectations,” BBFAW advisor Rory Sullivan said.
World Animal Protection CEO Steve McIvor said the food industry still had “a long way to go” in animal protection.
“A better quality of life for farm animals relies upon the industry taking a stand, responding to changing consumer demand and making large-scale changes across the world,” McIvor said.
“The 2016 Business Benchmark highlights that this issue remains a low priority for many companies, and there’s still a long way to go to encourage the global food industry to end the suffering of farm animals who frankly deserve better. Despite this, it’s great to see a growing group of progressive companies leading the way as they work to improve farm animal welfare standards.”