2 April 2020



London, 2 April 2020: Farm animal welfare is a material investment risk and key consideration in ESG investing according to Chronos Sustainability, the secretariat to the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW).

BBFAW, the leading global measure of policy commitment, performance and disclosure on animal welfare in food companies, launched its eighth annual benchmark report today. The Benchmark, which is supported by Compassion in World Farming and World Animal Protection, analysed 150 global food companies accounting for combined revenues of more than US$3 trillion[1]. This year’s analysis sees Co-op Group (Switzerland), Cranswick, Marks & Spencer, Migros, Noble Foods and Waitrose recognised as global leaders on farm animal welfare.

Beyond the individual company rankings, BBFAW reports that 60 per cent of the world’s leading food companies now have formal farm animal welfare policies and appropriate management processes for ensuring they are effectively deployed internally and through supply chains. However, it warns that progress is still too slow with 40 per cent of the 150 companies still appearing in the bottom tiers, providing little or no information about how they are managing the risks and opportunities associated with farm animal welfare.

Dr Rory Sullivan, co-author of the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare 2019 Report, and CEO of Chronos Sustainability, said: “In the period when this analysis was conducted, the rise in consumer and investor interest, coupled with increasing pressure on suppliers from food companies signalled a “perfect storm” for moving the dial on farm animal welfare.

Right now, the Covid-19 pandemic is shining a light on the fragility of global food supply chains for consumers and investors alike. In a world where farm animal welfare is an increasingly important driver of both business value, and investment risk, maintaining and improving animal welfare standards must remain a focus.”

He continued: “The fact that so many companies perform so poorly suggests that investors need to be even more active in ensuring that companies have robust management systems and processes for managing farm animal welfare and related issues such as supply chain resilience, product quality, and the over-use and misuse of antibiotics. A failure to do so presents grave risks to the food industry and to wider society.”

Abigail Herron, Global Head of Responsible Investment, Aviva Investors and author of the foreword to the BBFAW 2019 report said: “BBFAW has changed the conversation between investors and companies. Since its inception, BBFAW has presented investors with farm animal welfare related ESG information in terms that are relevant and aligned to investors’ interests. Building on a clear, publicly available methodology, BBFAW enables us to analyse management quality in a systematic and consistent manner. The annual reporting cycle of the Benchmark helps us understand important themes and assess whether companies are improving, stagnating or getting worse. It also helps us gauge whether companies are responding to engagement with their investors and has succeeded in adding farm animal welfare to the spectrum of ESG issues that are considered critical when analysing investment risk.”


[1] US$2.5 trillion combined retail revenue of BBFAW retailers and wholesalers; US$500 billion combined revenue of BBFAW producers and processors; US$220 billion combined revenues of BBFAW restaurants and bars.


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