Sodexo announces new commitment to eliminate veal crates from its supply chain and a phased-in approach to sourcing all egg products exclusively from cage-free hens
GAITHERSBURG, Md., February 19, 2015. Sodexo takes additional steps within its animal welfare policy in U.S. operations today, outlining a phased approach to sourcing poultry, beef and veal from suppliers and fostering improved animal well-being through its supply chain. In a move lauded by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Sodexo specifically announced that it will eliminate the use of veal crates from its supply chain by 2017 and extend its previous commitments to source all of its shell eggs from cage-free systems by now moving to source all of its liquid eggs solely from cage-free hens by the end of 2020.
“By committing to source all egg products exclusively from cage-free hens, Sodexo has built on an already strong set of animal welfare policies, with this latest pledge affecting the removal of 750,000 hens annually from extreme confinement in battery cage systems,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO, the Humane Society of the United States. “We appreciate the company’s prior commitments to source shell eggs from cage-free operations and its pork from producers who do not use gestation crates. But today’s announcement is surely one of the biggest decisions in the food sector from an animal welfare perspective.”
Every year, more than 60 billion animals are raised worldwide for food. The intensity and level of magnitude involved with animal production tends to create pressure for efficiencies, but unfortunately they are too often associated with significant and widespread animal welfare concerns. Appropriate animal husbandry practices from transportation, to housing, feeding and veterinary care play a key role in reducing those concerns.
Sodexo’s Global Animal Welfare Policy provides general guidelines and standards, which are often exceeded in U.S. operations. “With an annual spend of nearly $900 million on animal proteins in the U.S., Sodexo has established sustainable purchasing practices with suppliers that drive humane treatment of animals throughout our supply chain,” said Deborah Hecker, vice president, sustainability and corporate social responsibility, Sodexo. “We see animal welfare, including these new measures for cage-free eggs and crate-free veal, as a key component of a sustainable supply chain alongside food safety, food security, nutrition and science-based environmental practices.”
Sodexo currently sources about 20 million pounds of liquid eggs annually, from 750,000 egg-laying hens. It will now move to sourcing liquid eggs only from cage-free hens with a phased-in approach that will be complete by the end of 2020. The company’s 2012 commitment to eliminate gestation crates from the pork supply chain by 2022 remains intact.
In a series of next steps to protect and promote improved treatment of farm animals, Sodexo also is committed to working with suppliers to ensure the use of pain relief protocols, particularly as it relates to de-horning, castration and tail-docking procedures, which the company is working to eliminate.
Sodexo first reinforced its commitment to conducting business in a responsible and sustainable manner in 2009 by launching the Better Tomorrow Plan—its global roadmap to sustainability. That plan specifically called on the company to work with its suppliers to improve animal welfare in all the countries where it operates by 2015. In line with its ongoing progress, Sodexo continues to require passing scores on annual third-party animal welfare audits from its fully integrated suppliers.
For a company with operations in 80 countries at more than 32,700 sites, addressing animal welfare is a tremendous undertaking, largely due to the complexities of a global supply chain and differences in agriculture practices around the world. Despite the challenges, building valued partnerships with affected suppliers, leading authorities and credible organizations like HSUS is instrumental in achieving progress and educating stakeholders about the issue.
While the work is not yet complete, Sodexo is proud of the advances it continues to make and the recognition it has achieved. This month, for example, Sodexo was ranked for the eighth consecutive year as the best-performing company for economic, social and environmental performance in the benchmark RobecoSAM Sustainability Yearbook 2015, earning it Industry Leader and Gold Class recognition. The industry award specifically calls out a concern for animal welfare and ethical sourcing as driving factors for global supply chains.
Visit SodexoUSA.com to learn more about our commitment to animal welfare and for regular updates on our performance.
About Sodexo in North America
Sodexo, Inc. (www.sodexoUSA.com), leading Quality of Life Services company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On-site Services in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site segments, as well as Benefits and Rewards Services and Personal and Home Services. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (www.SodexoFoundation.org), an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $25 million in grants to end childhood hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at SodexoInsights.com. Visit Sodexo on Facebook and follow on Twitter @SodexoUSA.
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The Humane Society of the U.S.