The global landscape of farm animal welfare is changing dramatically and at a faster pace than in previous years. A big part of this is due to growing consumer interest in how their food is produced, driving demand for humanely farmed products. But behind the scenes, business investors are also playing an important role by encouraging progressive companies to view farm animal welfare as both a risk and an opportunity.
While many Australians may not have heard of the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW), it is on the radar for many investors and achieving a high rating, an aspiration for many well-known brands.
What is BBFAW
BBFAW is the leading global measure of how food companies manage farm animal welfare commitments, performance and disclosure. Reporting yearly on 150 of the world’s largest companies, BBFAW has enabled investors, companies, NGOs and the general public to better understand a company’s farm animal welfare practice and performance, as a single company and in comparison to their competitors.
Companies are assessed on 4 key areas and assessments are based on publicly available information. From this assessment companies are ranked in 1 of 6 tiers, tier 1 being the highest and tier 6 being those who have no evidence of any animal welfare practice or policy.
The latest report
Last week, the latest BBFAW report was released and includes Coles and Woolworths, which is good news for Australian grocery buyers.
Both Coles and Woolworths have been assessed as part of the benchmark since 2015. Woolworths Group started at tier 4 in 2015, but have progressed and retained a tier 3 ranking since 2017. Coles was initially assessed as part of the Wesfarmers group, starting at tier 5 and moving up to tier 4 in the 2018 report. In 2019 Coles Group has successfully moved up to tier 3.
Achieving and progressing these rankings is no easy feat. The rankings are reflective of the hard work being done by Coles and Woolworths to formalise their commitments to improving farm animal welfare, by embedding welfare improvements in their supply chains and the establishing measures internally to ensure farm animal welfare is prioritised.
A promising future
As shown through their participation in the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme, Coles and Woolworths are committed to providing their customers with humanely farmed products. But importantly, the latest BBFAW rankings mean an improvement of welfare standards for billions of Australian farm animals and increased access to more humanely farmed products for all Australians.
For more information on BBFAW and the latest results check out the report here.
For more information on Coles Group Responsible Sourcing see their website.
For more information on Woolworths Group Animal Welfare see their website.