Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare 2020: Global food producers take lead on farm animal welfare

MEDIA RELEASE (download)


London, 30 March 2021: The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW), the leading global measure of policy commitment, performance, and disclosure on animal welfare in food companies, has launched its ninth annual report.


The 2020 Benchmark, supported by Compassion in World Farming and World Animal Protection, analysed 150 global food companies.

For the first time in the Benchmark’s history, food producers and manufacturers are now the highest scoring sub-sector on farm animal welfare with an overall average score of 38%, compared to scores of 35% for retailers and wholesalers, and 31% for restaurants and bars.

Thirteen producers and manufacturers improved their ranking by at least one tier between 2019 and 2020, compared to nine retailers and wholesalers, and just one company in the ‘restaurants and bars’ sub-sector.

Food producers and manufacturers are also now the most represented sub-sector in Tiers 1 and 2 of the Benchmark, with twelve companies – Barilla, Cargill, Cranswick, Danish Crown, Groupe Danone, Fonterra, Hilton Food Group, Marfrig, Nestlé, Noble Foods, Premier Foods and Unilever – showing leadership on farm animal welfare. These companies represent all geographic regions (Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, North America and UK) covered by the Benchmark.

More than a third (39%) of the 150 companies covered by the BBFAW remain in the bottom two tiers, however, offering little or no information on their approach to farm animal welfare. In fact, 31 global food companies remain without an overarching farm animal welfare policy.

On a regional basis, the 2020 Benchmark reveals momentum is building in Latin America and Asia Pacific: regions that include some of the biggest names in global meat production. Analysis here shows noteworthy changes in the overall average score for producer companies in Latin America, whose overall average score rose from 29% in 2019 to 40% in 2020.

In Asia Pacific, producers in the region saw year-on-year scores improve from 21% to 27% in the Management Commitment section and from 14% to 18% in the Governance and Management section. However, it is worth noting that this rise is from a very low base, and the average overall score for these companies increased from 12% to 16% in 2020.

Nicky Amos, Executive Director of the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare, said: “The 2020 findings show how BBFAW is driving corporate action on farm animal welfare, with around two-thirds of companies actively managing the business risks and opportunities associated with farm animal welfare, and 79% of companies having committed to improvement objectives and targets linked to farm animal welfare. The progress made by companies on managing farm animal welfare since the BBFAW’s inception in 2012 is remarkable and should be applauded. However, as BBFAW enters its tenth year, our expectation is that companies need to demonstrate how their management commitments are translating into improved welfare impacts for animals on the ground.

The BBFAW has also announced that in 2021 – the tenth annual Benchmark cycle – it welcomes FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, as a supporting partner. FOUR PAWS will take over from World Animal Protection who, alongside Compassion in World Farming International, has steered the BBFAW since its inception in 2012. The BBFAW is extremely grateful to World Animal Protection for its vision, dedication, technical expertise and financial support over the past nine years. FOUR PAWS and BBFAW founding partner, Compassion in World Farming International, will together play an instrumental role in providing the BBFAW programme with technical expertise, guidance, funding and practical resources as the programme enters its second decade.

Philip Lymbery, Global CEO at Compassion in World Farming International, said: “This is the ninth annual BBFAW report and I’d like to thank our co-sponsors, World Animal Protection for sharing the journey with us since 2012, during which time we have seen extraordinary company progress.

“The current pandemic has been deeply challenging for everyone, particularly for the hospitality sector, and at the same time, has underlined the need for progressive change toward healthier, more resilient animal-welfare friendly food systems. The need to convert effective policies into practice has never been more urgent.

“As the 2020 Benchmark demonstrates, giving greater weight to the implementation of progressive practices has become a key corporate performance indicator on animal welfare and thereby health, which will remain important going forward.”

Steve McIvor, CEO at World Animal Protection, said: “COVID-19 has brought new challenges like never before, but despite this, we must continue to accelerate and drive forward the animal welfare movement. We must do better for the world’s 50 billion animals that are factory farmed each year, causing immense suffering. Not only do the cruel practices of intensive farming subject animals to misery, but they expose us to potential diseases and risks too. The BBFAW tool exposes those companies that care for animals, and those who do not.

“Animal cruelty is becoming more and more important for consumers - producers, supermarkets and restaurants would be foolish to ignore it. This tool brings all the commitments together in one place, providing a clear and transparent scorecard for all to see.”


For further information please contact:
Amanda Williams
Director of Communications
Chronos Sustainability (BBFAW Secretariat)
T: 020 8050 5103


Notes to Editors

  1. The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) is the globally recognised investor framework for assessing the quality of companies’ practices, processes and performance on farm animal welfare.
  2. The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare, founded in 2012, is supported by its founding partners the leading animal welfare organisations, Compassion in World Farming and World Animal Protection.
  3. 3. BBFAW provides an annual, independent assessment of farm animal welfare management and performance in global food companies. It enables investors, companies, NGOs and other stakeholders to understand corporate practice and performance on farm animal welfare. More information on the programme can be found at
  4. Through the annual benchmark, extensive engagement programmes with investors and with companies, and the production of guidance and other materials for companies and investors, BBFAW has driven higher farm animal welfare standards across the world’s leading food businesses.
  5. BBFAW 2020 is the ninth annual report from the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare. It analyses the farm animal welfare management and performance of 150 of the world’s largest food companies, across 37 distinct, objective criteria. As such, it is the most authoritative and comprehensive global account of corporate practice on farm animal welfare.
  6. The 2020 Benchmark covers 150 global food companies across 25 countries:
    52 Retailers and Wholesalers, 63 Producers and Manufacturers, and 35 Restaurants and Bars. The list includes listed and non-listed companies.
  7. Companies were assessed on their approach to managing farm animal welfare in four areas: (1) Management Commitment, (2) Governance and Management, (3) Innovation and Leadership, and (4) Performance Reporting and Impact.
  8. In line with the BBFAW’s objective to drive improvements in the welfare of animals farmed for food, the weighting of the performance reporting and impact questions (which make up 35% of total score) was further adjusted in 2020 to emphasise welfare impact over performance disclosure, with the aim of encouraging companies to focus on welfare impact in supply chains (the 10 questions relating to welfare impact now account for 60% of the weighting of the Performance Reporting and Impact section, from 56% in 2019). In addition, the scores from four new questions introduced in 2019 were included in the 2020 Benchmark for the first time, and the scoring of one further question was modified. These changes to the BBFAW methodology resulted in 11 companies being ranked one Tier lower than they would otherwise have ranked and a decrease of 1.2% in the overall average score for all companies.
  9. Company assessments were based on information published by companies on the date of their assessments. All companies were assessed during the period from 1st October to 30 November 2020.
  10. The number of companies that are considered to have farm animal welfare as an integral part of their business strategy has grown significantly over the eight Benchmark cycles, from 3 (out of 68) in 2012 to 25 (out of 150) in 2020.
  11. The company-by-company results are presented in attachment “Tier Diagram 2020.jpg” to this media release.
  12. Cranswick, Marks & Spencer, Noble Foods and Waitrose retain their Tier 1 position.
  13. Twenty-three of the 150 companies assessed in 2020 improved by at least one Tier in the 2020 Benchmark. These companies are:
    • Ahold Delhaize
    • Auchan Holding
    • Barilla
    • Bimbo
    • BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings
    • Carrefour SA
    • Charoen Pokphand Foods
    • Cooke Seafood Inc
    • Cooperativa Centrale Aurora Alimentos
    • IKEA (Inter IKEA Group)
    • Fonterra
    • Jeronimo Martins
    • KraftHeinz
    • Lidl Stiftung & Co KG
    • Marfrig Global (risen by two tiers)
    • Mars Inc
    • Meiji Holdings
    • Minerva Foods (risen by two tiers)
    • Papa John’s Pizza
    • Schwarz Unternehmens Treuhand KG/Kaufland
    • Unilever NV
    • US Foods
    • Woolworths Group
  14. In the 2020 Benchmark, fifteen companies fell by one Tier. The number of companies moving down is higher than we have seen in previous years. Our analysis of the scoring indicates that 11 of the 15 companies moved down a Tier as a result of the changes to the 2020 methodology. A further explanation for this could be the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for the restaurants and bars sector, which has led to some companies failing to update their reporting. These companies are:
    • ALDI Süd
    • Aramark Corporation
    • Chipotle Mexican Grill
    • CKE Restaurants
    • Coop Group (Switzerland)/Coop Genossenschaft
    • ICA Gruppen AB
    • General Mills Inc
    • Metro AG
    • Migros (fallen by two tiers)
    • Perdue Farms
    • Publix Super Markets Inc
    • SSP Group
    • Subway/Doctor’s Associates Inc
    • Terrena Group
    • UNFI

More information on the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare programme can be found at