Risk factors explained

Animal welfare

Animal welfare is a critical part of a food company’s management of issues such as food safety and antibiotics use, and a material issue on its own terms.

Key stats

63
%
of Index companies were ranked as ‘high risk’ on this category.
1
st
Pork producer QAF Limited was the top performer in this category.

Animal welfare is increasingly acknowledged as a critical part of a food company’s management of issues such as food safety and antibiotics use, and a material issue on its own terms. Increasing regulation on animal welfare in jurisdictions such as the EU and US, especially on the close confinement of animals, is also creating financial uncertainty for companies. In recent years, companies including BRF (poultry), Cranswick (pork), Fonterra (dairy) and others have adapted their business models to address animal welfare issues.

Companies are also exposed to changing consumer demand for higher animal welfare standards, driving recent commitments by more than 200 US supermarkets, restaurants and food companies to make their egg supply chains cage free.

Other findings include:

  • Only 10% of companies achieved a ‘low risk’ rating in this category.
  • Aquaculture companies received the highest average scores on this risk factor. The two terrertial protein companies that received top scores are both large pig producers.
  • Over 65% of companies that disclose on this risk factor but are categorised as medium or high risk produce poultry, indicating that companies in this sector are only beginning to move towards higher welfare standards.

*Companies with ‘multiple’ proteins derive significant revenues from more than one protein source.