A major Australian ethical fund has become the latest investor to back a worldwide investor collaboration fighting for farm animal welfare.
The $1bn AMP Capital Ethical Leaders Fund has joined the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare’s (BBFAW) Global Investor Statement and Global Investor Collaboration initiatives – which encourages major global food companies to strengthen their management systems and processes, and educates them on the significance of farm animal welfare as a material investment risk and opportunity.
The Collaboration is now supported by 30 institutional investors representing £2.3 trillion in assets under management, including Aberdeen Standard Investments, Aviva Investors, BNP Paribas, Coller Capital, Rathbone Greenbank Investments, Schroder and Robeco.
Under the initiative, the participating investors write annually to relevant companies on their animal welfare performance.
According to the investor group, these efforts have had a significant influence, with many companies now pointing to investor engagement and the BBFAW as key influences on their approach to farm animal welfare.
Of the 150 companies covered by the 2018 Benchmark, 64 (43%) now have explicit board or senior management oversight of farm animal welfare, compared to just 22% in 2012, while 106 (71%) have published formal improvement objectives for farm animal welfare – up from to 26% in 2012.
However, reporting on farm animal welfare performance is lagging.
While over half of the companies covered by the Benchmark are now reporting at least some animal welfare performance data, it is often not possible to understand how companies are translating policy commitments into action, or to get an accurate picture of the welfare impact on animals, BBFAW has warned.
“Investors have a key role to play in improving standards of farm animal welfare across the food industry and AMP Capital Ethical Leaders Fund signing the BBFAW Investor Collaboration is further evidence that farm animal welfare is an issue of importance for investors in Australia and New Zealand,” Dr Rory Sullivan, expert Advisor to BBFAW commented.
Kristen Le Mesurier, portfolio manager at AMP Capital Ethical Leaders Fund, said: “We recognise our asset stewardship responsibilities to influence the board and management teams of investee companies and assets to contribute to better business and societal outcomes. We are pleased to support the work of the BBFAW to help improve animal welfare standards.”
See also: Investors push food companies on animal welfare – A UK local government pension scheme pool, with £30 billion of assets, has signed up to an initiative requiring food companies to embrace higher standards on animal welfare.