Food Firms too slow to implement animal welfare improvements

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Food firms have been too slow to implement impactful change to animal welfare, according to the BBFAW
Food firms have been too slow to implement impactful change to animal welfare, according to the BBFAW

Related tags Animal welfare

Food firms are too slow in delivering meaningful animal welfare improvements, according to the tenth annual Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) report.

The report revealed that 89% of companies acknowledged farm animal welfare as a business issue – compared to the 71% reported in 2012 – while 81% had formal policies on farm animal welfare.

However, despite the positive outcomes of this year’s report, the implementation of animal welfare improvements continued to lag policies and governance.

While companies were quick to disclose management processes and the subsequent impact on farm animal welfare in their supply chains, none of the 150 businesses surveyed were ranked A tier on the BBFAW’s Impact Rating.

Top ranked food firms

Only five companies received a B rank – Greggs, Noble Foods, Premier Foods, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose – while 85% of the companies achieved an E or F impact rating.

Commenting o9n the report, Philip Lymbery – Compassion in World Farming global chief executive – said: “A decade on, it’s great to see BBFAW continue to deliver against its mission and make great progress in getting companies to invest in animal welfare.

“Yet, it’s disappointing that these policy commitments are not delivering meaningful improvements for animals as quickly as they should.  Our focus now must be on ensuring that companies across the globe really do drive forward and deliver substantial and measurable welfare improvements for farm animals.”

The 2021 benchmark doubled down on companies’ performance reporting and impact by increasing the weighting of this section to 45% of the total score available.

Dropped tier

This increased focus on impact resulted in 36 companies dropping a tier. Six companies improved their score sufficiently to increase their ranking by one tier.

Nicky Amos, executive director of the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare and managing director of Chronos Sustainability added: “The BBFAW set out in 2012 to put farm animal welfare on the business and investor agenda and to significantly advance corporate management practice and disclosure on the issue.

“Ten years on, these objectives have been realised. Today, around 80% of the 150 companies assessed by BBFAW have strengthened their governance of farm animal welfare through formal policy commitments, objectives and targets. While this provides a strong foundation for action, companies need to demonstrate that their investments in farm animal welfare are delivering positive welfare impacts for animals on the ground.” 

BBFAW report 2021

• 134 (89%) now acknowledge farm animal welfare as a business issue (compared to 71% of the 68 companies evaluated in 2012)
• 122 companies (81%) have formal policies on farm animal welfare (compared to 46% of companies in 2012)
• 119 companies (79%) have published formal objectives and targets for animal welfare (compared to just 26% of companies in 2012).
• The benchmark’s top tier comprises two food retailers and two food producers – Marks and Spencer, Waitrose, Noble Foods, and Premier Foods.

Related topics Supply Chain

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