Sustainably Raised and Grown
The worldwide population is expected to rise from 6.7 billion in 2009 to 9.6 billion in 2050.
In addition to the global increase in demand for all types of food, economic development generates an even greater increase in demand for meat, fish, dairy, vegetables and fruit. Sixty billion animals are raised for food worldwide every year.
The intensification of animal production has allowed for increased productivity but is often associated with significant and widespread animal welfare concerns.
Transportation is stressful to animals and risks injury, suffering and the spread of disease. This applies especially to long journeys and to transport to slaughter.
Appropriate housing, good stockmanship and adequate husbandry practices have an important role in reducing animal welfare concerns. These practices are applicable throughout the life of the animal including rearing, transport and slaughter. Examples of good practices relate to areas such as housing, feeding, veterinary care and transport and slaughter methods.
Throughout the world, more than 1 billion farmers, stockmen and slaughtermen are involved in the rearing, handling, transportation and processing of animals.
Additionally, intensive livestock farming relies upon grain-based diets which can put farm animals in competition with people for food resources. Continuing to intensify livestock farming is likely to increase pressure on food availability, especially in areas where food security is already vulnerable. Well managed livestock farming however can utilize lower grade crops and land contributing positively to food security for people.
There is growing consumer demand for better tasting, better quality, environmentally friendly animal products raised under conditions that respect the animal’s health and welfare. This further supports the importance of animal welfare as a key component of a sustainable and responsible sourcing strategy.
A number of countries have adopted specific legislation or guidelines aimed at protecting animals by defining minimal welfare standards.
Sodexo believes that animal welfare is a key component of a sustainable supply chain alongside food safety, food security, nutrition, good environmental practices, fundamental rights for workers and economic viability.
Sodexo has established sustainable purchasing practices in its relationship with suppliers through its Group Code of Conduct.
Sodexo sources and serves food products derived from animals, and whilst the company is not directly involved in the rearing, handling, transportation or processing of them, it shares responsibility for the animals in its supply chain.
Sodexo has a very diverse range of suppliers in many geographies with a wide range of products and practices. Sodexo works with its suppliers to encourage implementation of the most appropriate methods for their specific activities.
Sodexo’s presence in 80 countries employing 428 000 employees and its relations with many clients and suppliers put it in a unique position to:
- raise awareness internally amongst its 428 000 employees
- raise awareness externally amongst its community of clients, and consumers
- raise awareness and work with its direct suppliers to improve conditions and animal welfare standards
Sodexo reinforced its commitment to conducting business in a responsible and sustainable manner in 2009 by launching the Better Tomorrow Plan, Concerning Sustainable Agriculture in particular, the Group made the following commitment: “We will source local, seasonal or sustainably grown or raised products in all the countries where we operate by 2015.”
With regard to animal welfare in particular, in recognition of the fact that animal welfare is a key component of a sustainable supply chain, Sodexo has developed a Group Animal Welfare Strategy to meet its commitment to source sustainably reared products.
“Sodexo will work with its suppliers to improve animal welfare in all the countries where we operate by 2015.”
The implementation of this strategy includes, but is not limited to, the following aspects:
- set and regularly review annual and country specific objectives aimed at improving animal welfare throughout the supply chain
- publicize whenever possible animal welfare standards, performance and achievements
- ensure that animal welfare is part of the group procurement requirements and addressed in suppliers contractual specifications wherever appropriate by having our suppliers signed Group Animal Welfare Supplier Charter encourage and drive uptake of higher welfare animal products through appropriate communication to clients on key animal welfare issues
As part of our Group Animal Welfare strategy, Sodexo has identified the following areas to be addressed which are applicable in all the countries where we operate.
Note: Those countries with specific market requests, may implement additional animal welfare standards as appropriate. These standards will take the form of an appendix to Group Animal Welfare Supplier Charter.
- At Farm - Feedlot Level
Animals should be treated humanely as per all local and national regulations around animal welfare. Based on these local and national regulations for a given production system, this includes best practices around space, antibiotic use and physical alterations. Specific considerations include:
- Animals should not be kept in permanent darkness or permanent brightness
- Any sick or injured animals should be treated appropriately to minimize pain and distress. This should include veterinary treatment if required
- Animals should not be kept in isolation unless briefly required for veterinary procedures or to recover from illness or injury
- Animals should have adequate access to feed and fresh water
- Buildings, accommodation and equipment should be regularly and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to minimize risk of disease
- Staff and stockmen should be properly and regularly trained in good animal husbandry including handling techniques. Training should be documented.
- During Transportation
Animals should be treated humanely as per all local and national regulations around animal welfare. Each given production and transportation system should follow these regulations and associated best practices around transporting animals, access to food and water and safety procedures. Specific considerations include:
- No animal should be transported if it has been deemed unfit to do so
- Transportation conditions and means will be maintained so as to limit injury and unnecessary suffering to animals
- Vehicles, ships, containers and equipment should be maintained to a suitable standard and in appropriate working order for the planned journey
- Vehicles, ships, containers and equipment such as loading ramps should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to minimize risk of disease
- Vehicles, ships or containers should not be overcrowded and should provide sufficient space and adequate ventilation
- Appropriate handling equipment and good handling practices should be used during loading, unloading and handling in order to minimize stress and injuries
- Staff including stockmen and drivers should be properly and regularly trained and training should be documented.
- Staff should possess appropriate ability, knowledge and competence in animal husbandry and handling techniques.
- At Abattoir/Slaughter
Animals should be treated humanely as per all local and national regulations around animal welfare. Each given production and slaughter/abattoir system should follow these regulations and associated best practices around pain and stress during stunning and slaughtering, pre-stunning and sticking. Specific considerations include:
Animals should be handled, stunned and killed by properly trained slaughtermen
- When animals are kept in lairage (holding pens) for extended periods, food and water should be provided and appropriate facilities and protections from adverse weather provided
- Buildings, resting areas and equipment should be regularly and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to minimize risk of disease
- Equipment should be maintained and in good working order
- Staff and stockmen should be properly and regularly trained and training should be documented
- Staff should possess appropriate ability, knowledge and competence
- The slaughter should be conducted utilizing methods which minimize distress and suffering
Note: The welfare of farmed fish is covered in our sustainable seafood charter.
A working group with representatives of all major geographical regions has been set up to define the Group strategy with regard to animal welfare in association with relevant suppliers and NGOs, and in particular Compassion in World Farming.
This working group reports directly to Damien Verdier, Group Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing & Strategic Planning Officer.
Prior to and in parallel with the work being done at Group level, several Sodexo countries have already implemented steps to improve animal welfare in our supply chain:
- Sodexo UK and Ireland has supported animal welfare initiatives within its client base by promoting Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards by Compassion in world farming (CIWF) and supporting individual clients within their public and Corporate Services sectors to work toward and apply for Good Egg Awards by CIWF.
- Sodexo UK Head Offices were awarded a 2012 Good Egg Award by CIWF for pledging to only use free-range eggs in their staff restaurant.
- Sodexo Belgium was awarded a Good Egg Award by CIWF in 2008 recognizing their commitment to only source cage-free eggs across all of their foodservice activity.
- Sodexo Netherlands supports animal welfare initiatives such as Better Life hallmark.
- Sodexo North America has made and is working towards the achievement of commitments on specific areas of animal welfare in addition to other action:
- by July 2014, all of the 39 million shelled eggs we purchase each year will be sourced from cage-free hens.
- we will work with pork suppliers to phase out the use of gestation stalls in its supply chain by 2022.
- we engage in dialogue around the development of animal welfare standards with groups such as the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.
- we require third party animal welfare audits from our fully integrated suppliers with annual passing scores.
- Sodexo in Democratic Republic of Congo sources only cage-free eggs and uses pork raised without gestation crates.
- Sodexo in France has for many years worked with its suppliers to improve animal welfare conditions in its supply chain. Sodexo en in France is working with some of its supplies to promote the use of certifications including animal welfare standards.
- Raising the level of awareness internally through the Supply Chain and the Better Tomorrow Champion network about the importance of improving animal welfare within our supply chain
- Raising awareness amongst the supplier community about the importance of improving animal welfare
- Raising awareness amongst our clients and consumers about the importance of improving animal welfare
- All our Supply Chain teams will include animal welfare requirements in relevant Request For Information and Request For Quotations. Through our annual sustainable development reporting process, we will monitor the progress that we are making on our commitments
Sodexo is committed to adopting measures which ensure continuous improvement in the field of animal welfare.
This commitment will be achieved in several stages:
- Launch of an awareness program during the Fiscal Year 2014 with our Better Tomorrow Champions and Supply Chain teams around the world
- Signature of our Animal Welfare Charter by all relevant European and Global suppliers by the end of Fiscal Year 2014 and in the leading countries involved in the Animal Welfare Working Group
- Ensure that the Animal Welfare Charter is available in the national language of all Sodexo countries and start work on its signature has begun by the end of Fiscal Year 2014
- Ensure that the Animal Welfare Charter has been signed by the top 10 contracted suppliers for meat products in all countries by the end of Fiscal Year 2015
- Gradually, ensure that we have the charter signed by all relevant suppliers in all countries.
- Where national or independent third party certification programs are currently available, Sodexo will work with its direct suppliers to ensure that they and their own suppliers obtain certification
Note: For those countries where no certification is in place, some international certification
programs for animal welfare are under development and when a recognized program becomes available, Sodexo will work with its direct suppliers to ensure that they will become certified.