Animal Welfare

The welfare of farm animals within our global supply chain is important to us and is a key element of our Responsible Sourcing strategy

We are committed to continuously improving our performance to deliver enhanced and harmonised animal welfare standards through our global supply chain. This strategy is supported by ongoing efforts to increase the visibility of our complex supply chain and we equip our procurement teams with engaging eLearning tools to help them better understand associated risks and, as a result, make more informed sourcing decisions.

In 2019 we made the commitment to further improve the lives of millions of broiler chickens across Europe. By 2026, Compass Group has committed to meet the European Chicken Commitment (ECC) for 100% of the chicken meat it sources for Europe.

We have been assessed annually by the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) since its inception in 2012. In 2019, we are pleased to have maintained our Tier 3 ranking.   

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.

Recognising that improving farm animal welfare standards is increasingly a collective issue for our industry, last year we took the decision to become a founding member of the Global Coalition for Animal Welfare (GCAW) in October 2018. GCAW is the world’s first industry-led initiative aimed at advancing animal welfare globally. We work with the other six major companies that make up GCAW to improve animal welfare standards at scale and to meet consumer demand for food products from animals reared in systems that promote good welfare.

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. This will result in improving the lives of around 60 million broiler chickens per year in the US.

We serve 55,000 client locations and work in partnership with both clients and consumers to promote responsible sourcing practices. We are increasingly offering vegetarian/vegan options and plant-based protein as alternatives to animal protein. For example, 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, we run initiatives such as ‘Menus of Change’ to promote principles of healthy, sustainable menus.

In 2018, we refreshed our sustainability strategy which comprises three strategic priorities: Health & Wellbeing; Environmental Game Changers; and Better for the World, which includes Sourcing Responsibly. To shape policy and further drive performance and reporting across our global business, our Animal Welfare Steering Group is now headed up by Federico Tonetti, Group Safety and Sustainability Director, a member of our Group Executive Committee.

The steering group reports annually on global farm animal welfare performance and corresponding outcomes.   


To oversee management and compliance with farm animal welfare standards across our global supply chain, we have nominated our Global Head of Food Safety & Responsible Sourcing as Group Farm Animal Welfare Officer.

Through the roll-out of a training programme in animal welfare for our commercial teams and the planned communication of an enhanced Supplier Code, we aim to further raise awareness and compliance with our global 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 six 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.

Supply Chain Integrity

Our Supply Chain Integrity Policy outlines our approach to driving improvements in animal welfare standards within our global supply chain.

Our Policy


Recognised farm assurance schemes continue to provide us with robust frameworks for the management of farm animal welfare across our global supply chain. Below are examples of where we have partnered with schemes that deliver benefits directly to farm animals.

Compass Group Australia is proud to be the first food services company to be certified under the rigorous RSPCA standards.

From 1 March 2018, all raw chicken used by Compass Group Australia is 100% RSPCA approved. RSPCA Australia CEO, Heather Neil, attended the launch of the Australian initiative at Compass's corporate offices in Sydney and congratulated the business on being the first food services cmopany in the country to meet RSPCA standards. The program, led by Ken Kerr and Raelene Robinson from the Compass food procurement team, took almost a year to complete as part of the national poultry strategy governing ethical sourcing policies and RSPCA audit processes.

"Globally, Compass Group is committed to food sustainability including the Farm Animal Welfare's Council's Five Freedoms and has announced a commitment to using 100% cage free eggs by 2025. The decision to use RPSCA approved chicken is an Australian initiative and reflects our ongoing commitment to ethical procurement." Andrew said.

This exciting news has been communicated to our clients and consumers at each site via a poster campaign.


Photo below: RSPCA Australia CEO, Heather Neil (r) presents Shelley Roberts (MD Compass Group Australia) and Andrew Brightmore (Executive Director Supply Chain) with the RSPCA certification.

Compass Group UK & Ireland achieve Red Tractor certification for fresh milk

Compass Group UK & Ireland, the UK's largest food and support services firm, has received Red Tractor certification for the fresh milk served across its 10,000 UK sites.

Red Tractor certification acts as a mark of quality and trust, ensuring the journey from farm to packaging follows the rigorous standards set by the largest food standards scheme in the UK.

Transparent and ethical provenance is key to gaining the accreditation. This means all fresh milk must originate from responsible British farms, which only use fertilisers and pesticides when completely necessary, and that the whole supply chain is checked to ensure total compliance.

Through achieving the certification, Compass will now display the Red Tractor logo at sites throughout the UK - communicating to clients and consumers the quality of the fresh milk being served.

Richard Cattel, Head of Marketing & Communications - Assured Food Standards (Red Tractor), commented: "We are delighted to be able to certify Compass Group UK & Ireland's fresh milk. Through working with the catering company we can confirm the sourcing practices meet the high standards we set on quality and provenance. Responsible sourcing is paramount to achieving the Red Tractor certification. As the only whole chain scheme we can ensure that products displaying our logo originate from British farms and are produced to some of the most comprehensive and respected standards in the world."


Lapin d'Or

In 2019, our business in France received a Lapin d'Or (Good Rabbit) commendation from Compassion in World Farming for its plans to improve the living conditions of rabbits.

Animal Welfare Training Programme

In partnership wtih Compassion in World Farming, we have launched the first two modules of a training programme in animal welfare for our UK sourcing team. we aim to progressively roll-out this training across the rest of our global sourcing teams by the end of 2020. This training will better enable our procurement professionals to conduct research into the various higher welfare sourcing options available to us.


The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) is instrumental in continuing to both shape our approach and drive performance on farm animal welfare, as it provides us with a clear set of expectations and a robust framework for policy development, implementation and the measurement of outcomes that directly benefits farm animals. Our progress on Animal Welfare was recognised by the Benchmark in 2018 when we maintained our Tier 3 rating.

We are now in the process of transitioning from a focus on the implementation of Farm Animal Welfare processes, policies and commitments towards routine reporting on performance and the corresponding impacts on farm animal welfare across our global multi-tiered supply chain.

During our continued work with our suppliers to increase the visibility of our complex global supply chain of meat, poultry and dairy back to farm level, we identified knowledge gaps on some farm animal welfare inputs and outcomes and are therefore currently putting in place a universal performance reporting framework to track, report and publicly disclose data on this and our performance on our recent commitments from 2020 onwards.

By then, we will have a better understanding of current practice and challenges and will work with our local procurement teams to define and implement species-specific animal welfare improvement plans for Pigs, Broiler Chickens, Cattle, Sheep, Laying Hens and Farmed Fish.

Through some of the early supply chain assessments, data has indicated positive compliance, for example:

  • Currently, 96% of shell eggs that our business in the USA purchase are certified cage free
  • Pigs, Beef and Sheep meat - 100% of livestock transported within a maximum eight hour live journey time for our UK, France and Italy markets
  • Pigs and Beef - 100% pre-slaughter stunning for our UK, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal markets
  • Farmed FinFish - 100% free from routine mutilation for our Italy market