Marks and Spencer and Waitrose keep top spots in BBFAW annual benchmark, while Tesco improves to second tier
Sainsbury’s performance on safeguarding animal welfare has deteriorated in the past year, in contrast to other UK retailers, according to the global Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare.
The BBFAW’s annual benchmark, published this week, showed that Sainsbury had moved from tier 2, where animal welfare is “integral to business strategy” to tier 3, where animal welfare practices are “established but work needs to be done”.
Other retailers showed improvement in their animal welfare practice and reporting in 2016, or stayed where they were, the BBFAW said. This includes Marks and Spencer and Waitrose, which both retained their tier 1 spots, Tesco, which move up a tier to tier 2, and Morrisons, which moved up from tier 4 (“making progress on implementation”) to tier 3. Asda is part of Walmart, which retained its tier 3 position.
The report noted: “Clearly Sainsbury’s has yet to show that it is addressing the recommendations outlined by the BBFAW in its annual assessments. Along with many companies in the 2015 benchmark, Sainsbury’s would have been encouraged to ensure that its information on farm animal welfare was clearly defined and up-to-date.”
The BBFAW provides an annual review of how 99 of the world’s leading food companies are managing risks and opportunities associated with farm animal welfare. The report, compiled in collaboration with Compassion in World Farming, World Animal Protection and investment firm Coller Capital, reveals that 73% of companies now have published farm animal welfare policies, compared to 46% in 2012, when the first benchmark was published, while 65% of companies have published targets on farm animal welfare, up from 26% in 2012.
Other companies in tier 1 are Coop Group (Switzerland), Cranswick, Migros, and Noble Foods, while BRF, Cargill, Co-op (UK), Greggs, McDonald’s, and Unilever are with Tesco in tier 2.
BBFAW Executive Director, Nicky Amos, said: “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.”
But she pointed out that with 42 companies in tiers 5 and 6, including Restaurant Brands International (owner of Burger King), Domino’s Pizza Group, Starbucks, Mars, Kraft Heinz and Yum! Brands (owner of KFC) “there is still much work to be done to even get farm animal welfare on the business agenda of many large global food companies.”
Sainsbury said in a statement: “We take animal welfare extremely seriously and are proud to have a strong track record in ethical sourcing. Working in partnership with farmers we have, over a number of years, significantly improved the health and welfare of cattle, pigs and poultry. There is always more that can be done, and we have a robust strategy in place for the next few years that ensures we continue to meet and further improve our high welfare standards.”
Marks and Spencer