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

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.


Our Supply Chain Integrity Policy Statement outlines our global animal welfare commitments

Policy Statement

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 – to date, more than 62% of the shell eggs we source are now cage free.

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 more than 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

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 communication of our enhanced Supplier Code to new suppliers in 2018, 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 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. In 2018, we also participated in several industry working groups, whose collective aim is to advance animal welfare globally.  

Supply Chain Certification

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 two recent 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% RSCPA 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 company 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 Council’s Five Freedoms and has announced a commitment to using 100% cage free eggs by 2025.  The decision to use RSPCA approved chicken is an Australian initiative and reflects our ongoing commitment to ethical procurement,” Andrew said.

RSPCA Australia CEO, Heather Neil (r) presents Shelley Roberts (MD Compass Group Australia) & Andrew Brightmore (Executive Director Director Supply Chain) with the RSPCA Certification.

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


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 15,000 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.

The commitment to buy milk from Red Tractor assured farms only was included in Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Corporate Responsibility Report 2016, published earlier this year. Similar sourcing targets included in the document include the pledge to use 100% cage free eggs by 2025 and ensure all tea, coffee and hot chocolate is ethically sourced by 2020.

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

Duncan Gray, Head of Corporate Responsibility – Compass Group UK & Ireland, stated: “Gaining Red Tractor certification for all our fresh milk is a fantastic step in providing our consumers and clients with confidence that their milk is sourced from quality British farms.

“In our Corporate Responsibility Report 2016 we outlined a number of key sourcing commitments, with milk being one area of focus. This achievement acts as an indicator of our commitment to delivering all the targets we have set ourselves.”

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.”

Raising Awareness

Earlier this year in partnership with Compassion in World Farming (CiWF), we launched the first two modules of a training programme in animal welfare to our UK sourcing team. We aim to progressively roll-out this training across the rest of our global sourcing teams by the end of 2019.

This training will better enable our procurement professionals to conduct research into the various higher welfare sourcing options available to us. In conjunction with an independent third party, our UK business has commissioned some targeted research into higher welfare broiler chicken standards for delivery in the second half of 2018.

Reporting on our Performance

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 2017 when we moved up to Tier 3.

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 this data from 2019 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 Finfish.

So far, through some of the early supply chain assessments we have completed in 2018, all data has indicated positive compliance, for example:

  • Pigs, Beef and Sheep meat – 100% of livestock transported within a maximum 8 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