The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare’s (BBFAW’s) eighth annual report found that two of the six companies in its top-tier ranking were food manufacturers – Noble and Cranswick. They ranked highly alongside high street retailers Marks & Spencer, the Co-op, Waitrose and Switzerland-based Migros. See box below for tier explanations.
Nicky Amos, executive director at the BBFAW, said: “An increasing number of companies are using the annual benchmark to drive continuous improvement in farm animal welfare practices, performance and disclosure.
“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.”
Noble Foods company farms director Jean-Paul Michalski said the benchmark had influenced real change in the industry and was proud that the company had mained its tier one position.
“It is vital for animal welfare management to be reported on and at Noble Foods we welcome this. As a result, it’s important for us to lead by example.
“Consumer demands are changing and people are more interested than ever in where their food comes from and how animals are treated within the supply chain. It’s crucial that companies aren’t left behind and that clear, transparent reporting becomes the norm as the BBFAW continues its mission.”
Rising in the rankings
A number of food and drink producers advanced their rankings in this year’s report, with Nestlé, Premier Foods, Associated British Foods, Danish Crown, Tulip and Hilton Food Group all making it to tier two.
Commenting on its rise in the rankings, Nestlé vice president and head of operations Magdi Batato said: “This recognises our efforts to improve transparency and reporting on our progress. We will continue to work with others in the food industry to make further improvements.”
However, Unilever, Kraft Heinz and Mondelēz International all dropped a ranking, while the likes of 2 Sisters Food Group and Müller kept their positions from last year (tier three and tier six respectively).
The UK continued to lead the global food industry on farm animal welfare management, with businesses achieving an average score of 64% against a framework assessing the quality of companies’ practices, process and performance.
150 companies ranked
In total, 63 producers and manufacturers with combined revenues of US$500bn were assessed in this year’s report, together with 52 retailers and wholesalers, and 35 restaurants and bars.
Both the producer and retailer sectors improved their average overall scores to 35% (from 31% and 32% respectively in 2018), while the restaurants and bars sector score has remained static at 32%.
Philip Lymbery, global chief executive at Compassion in World Farming, added: “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.”