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Business Benchmark: Faster Animal Welfare Impacts Needed

News Section Icon Published 3/16/2022

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The tenth annual Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) report, launched today (16th March), reveals that while companies continue to invest in animal welfare, they are too slow in delivering meaningful welfare impacts on the ground. 

BBFAW is the leading global measure of policy commitment, performance and disclosure on animal welfare in food companies. It analyses the farm animal welfare management and performance of 150 of the world’s largest food companies and is designed to help drive higher farm animal welfare standards in the world’s leading food businesses and provide a benchmark to inform investor choices.

The Highlights

The 2021 BBFAW report reveals that of the 150 companies evaluated worldwide:

  • 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

Companies were assessed on their approach to managing farm animal welfare in four areas: (1) Management Commitment, (2) Governance and Management, (3) Innovation and Leadership, and (4) Performance Reporting and Impact.

More needs to be done

Despite these positive results, implementation of animal welfare improvements continues to lag policies and governance. For example, although 88 companies (59%) report some data relating to cage-free production of laying hens, only 23 companies (15%) report that 60% or more of the laying hens in their global supply chains are cage-free.

There remains a disconnect between many companies’ disclosure of management processes and the subsequent impact on farm animal welfare in their supply chains. None of the evaluated companies achieved an ’A’ Impact Rating and only five companies – including Marks & Spencer and Waitrose – achieved a ‘B’ Impact Rating.

Delivering welfare improvements

Philip Lymbery, Global CEO at Compassion in World Farming, said: "A decade on, it’s hugely encouraging 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. This means making significant progress in their supply chains: for example, moving away from keeping animals in cages and crates, and towards more humane and sustainable conditions, to help create a food system that works for animals, people, and the planet.”

Read more about our Food Business work here.


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