Farm Animal Welfare Gets Investor Backing

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Farm animal welfare has been supported by eighteen institutional signatories. The investors, who represent £1.5 trillion in assets, have released a statement on farm animal welfare, believing that it is potentially material to long-term investment value creation in the food sector. They are working closely with the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare.

The investors commit to taking account of farm animal welfare when analysing food companies and to encouraging high standards across the food industry. They also point to the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare as a framework that can be used by companies and by investors to guide their work on farm animal welfare.

Nicky Amos, Programme Director at Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare said: “This is the first time that institutional investors have supported a formal public statement on farm animal welfare. It is a clear sign that we farm animal welfare is transitioning from being seen as a niche ethical issue to one that is recognised as an important source of business risk and of opportunity.”

The investors include BNP Paribas Investment Partners, Coller Capital, Schroders, Tridos Bank, Walden Asset Management, Robecco, Aviva Investors, The Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church, Australian Ethical, Epworth Investment Management, ASR Nederland and Trillium Asset Management.

Dr Rory Sullivan, Expert Advisor to the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare added: “The Business Benchmark has played a catalytic role in changing investors’ views on farm animal welfare. It provides investors with a robust, independent and credible assessment of corporate practice and performance on farm animal welfare, and is presented in a way that enables these to be incorporated into investment models and to underpin engagement programmes.”

The signatories have released a statement agreeing on the following points:

  • They believe the issue of farm animal welfare is potentially material to long-term investment value creation in the food sector, and is a relevant consideration when forming views on the strategic positioning of companies in the food sector.
  • They believe that food companies have an important role to play in raising farm animal welfare standards within their own operations and in their supply chains.
  • They welcome the development of the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare. We see it as a credible, transparent and independent tool that we can use to assess the quality of companies’ policies, practices and performance on the issue of farm animal welfare. We also see it as an important tool for encouraging better reporting on farm animal welfare across the food sector.
  • They believe that the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare will contribute towards creating greater awareness within the food industry of this important issue, and act as a tool for highlighting leadership and good practice, as well as gaps and challenges.
  • They will, as appropriate, take account of the information provided by the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare in our analysis of the food companies in which we invest.
  • They will encourage food companies to use the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare as a practical tool to help them manage their farm animal welfare issues and as a framework to guide their reporting on farm animal welfare.
  • They will provide investor input into the evolution of the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare to ensure that it remains relevant to the needs and interests of long-term responsible investors.