The welfare of farm animals within our global supply chain is important to us and is a key element of our Responsible Sourcing strategy
This strategy is supported by ongoing efforts to increase the visibility of our complex supply chain through a continuous programme of supply chain mapping back to farm level. Underpinning this, is a strong commitment to equip our procurement teams with engaging eLearning tools to help them better understand associated risks and as a result, make more informed sourcing decisions.
We have been assessed annually by the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) since the publication of its first report in 2012. We remain committed to continuously improving our performance by embedding a common framework designed to deliver enhanced and harmonised animal welfare standards throughout our global supply chain.
We continue to work with our suppliers and partner organisations across the globe such as Compassion in World Farming, Humane Society International and The Humane League to further research and develop our animal welfare standards.
In 2016, our industry leading position on animal welfare issues was recognised by our inclusion in Fortune’s Change the World list of 50 companies that have had a positive social impact through activities that are part of their core business strategy. This coincided with our commitment to source 100% cage free eggs globally by 2025.
Our US business picked up a further two awards in the same year with a 2016 CiWF Good Egg Award and a 2016 Henry Spira Award for Humane Corporate Progress to mark their commitment to cage free eggs.
In 2017 we collected a second Henry Spira Award for our commitment to broiler welfare standards as our US business became the first food service company to commit to 100% healthier, slower growing chicken by 2024 through a landmark Global Animal Partnership (GAP) agreement, which will result in improving the lives of around 60 million broiler chickens per year.
We serve 55,000 client locations and work in partnership with both clients and consumers to promote responsible sourcing practices. A good example of the way we help protect the welfare of farm animals is by promoting to our clients and consumers, vegetarian/vegan options and plant based protein as alternatives to animal protein. In our UK & Ireland business, we are working with Humane Society International to support our chefs on ‘Veg Centric’ menu development, whilst in our US business in 2015, we announced the adoption of four new, key initiatives based on the ‘Menus of Change’ principles of healthy, sustainable menus.
To further shape policy and drive performance and reporting across our global business, we established an Animal Welfare Steering Group in July 2017 and appointed Sandra Moura, a member of our Group Executive Board as senior sponsor.
The Steering Group intend to report annually on global farm animal welfare performance and the corresponding outcomes from 2018 onwards.
To oversee management and compliance against farm animal welfare standards across our global supply chain, we have nominated our Group Supply Chain Integrity Manager as Group Farm Animal Welfare Officer.
Through the planned roll-out in 2018 of a training programme in animal welfare for our commercial teams and the communication of our enhanced Supplier Code to new suppliers, we aim to further raise awareness and compliance with our sourcing standards. Agreement with this Code forms part of our purchasing terms and conditions for supply.
In addition to the various third-party animal welfare certification schemes that we source products against, we are looking to develop our monitoring processes by introducing targeted, risk-based compliance audits on our animal welfare standards over the next 12-18 months.
Where non-compliances are identified through either audit or ‘Speak-Up’ (our Group-wide programme which enables suppliers to confidentially raise concerns over unethical or inhumane actions or behaviour), they will be fully investigated and where possible remedied. Repeat breaches or those that cannot be remedied will result in the immediate termination of the relevant supplier.
We have recently engaged with a global technology partner, to support our progress in raising standards of farm animal welfare practices across the industry through the implementation of innovative product origin testing technology. Designed to verify geographical origin and ultimately the authenticity of other attributes such as the higher-welfare standards of the products we source, this technology will provide improved visibility of our supply chain. We are also in dialogue with global peer organisations, with a view to participating in an industry-wide Global Collaboration on Animal Welfare.