Benchmark Methodology

BBFAW Methodology

The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare is designed to help drive higher farm animal welfare standards in the world’s leading food businesses

The Business Benchmark assesses company management of and performance on farm animal welfare in four core areas: Management Commitment and Policy, including overarching farm animal welfare policies as well as specific policies on issues such as close confinement and long-distance transportation; Governance and Management, including management oversight, farm animal welfare-related objectives and targets, supply chain management and performance reporting; Leadership and Innovation, including research and development and customer and client engagement; and Performance Measurement, including quantitative indicators linked to key management inputs as well as welfare outcome measures.

The 2015 Benchmark includes 90 companies representing 17 geographic regions spread across three food industry subsectors: food retailers and wholesalers, restaurants and bars, and food producers.

Company assessments are conducted during August and September and the results are published early the following year.

The first step in the assessment process is a desktop review of each company’s published information. This involves a detailed review of the material on companies’ corporate (i.e. parent company) websites, the material contained in annual reports, corporate responsibility reports and other publications, and the material on subsidiary company websites. The review is not confined to formal publications, but also involves reviews of company press releases, frequently asked questions and other locations where relevant information might be found. Scores are not, however, awarded for information that is not in the public domain. The reasons for this are: (a) encouraging better disclosure is a core objective of the BBFAW, (b) we wish to ensure that companies were assessed consistently, and (c) we wish to avoid any suggestion that companies working with Compassion in World Farming and/or World Animal Protection are advantaged by the assessment methodology.

Following this initial review and preliminary scoring, individual company reports are reviewed by members of Compassion in World Farming’s Food Business team and World Animal Protection’s Corporate Engagement team to check the factual accuracy of the content and to ensure consistency.

The BBFAW Secretariat also conducts a sensitivity analysis to ensure that companies with different business characteristics (for example, those with complex versus those with simple supply chains, those with multiple subsidiaries versus those with relatively few subsidiaries, and those with multiple brands versus those with fewer brands) are being treated fairly and to ensure the assessment is not penalising or favouring specific business models.

Preliminary assessment reports containing interim findings and scores are emailed to companies and companies are invited to respond with written comments or to request further dialogue on the assessment approach and scoring.

The final confidential company reports, showing individual scores and comments for each question, as well as overall company scores and comparable sector scores, are sent to companies at the time of the BBFAW Benchmark Report launch.

Over the next year, we intend to focus our efforts on:

  • Ensuring that the Benchmark remains relevant and useful to investors, through regular one-to-one meetings, by participating in investment-related seminars and events, and via our annual survey of how investors are using the Benchmark;
  • Continuing to raise the profile of farm animal welfare and the investment-related risks and opportunities, through direct engagement with investors, press and communication activities and by participating in investment-related seminars and events;
  • Developing understanding of the business case and the investment case for farm animal welfare;
  • Developing the BBFAW investor collaboration established in 2015, with a particular focus on encouraging greater investment engagement with the companies in the Benchmark.