Animal welfare: a sustainable commitment between Elior Group and its suppliers

Animal welfare

Together with its network of several thousands of suppliers, Elior Group prepares and serves a wide variety of meals to some 5.5 million guests every day across 16 countries. As part of its collective responsibility approach and in response to SDG 2 requirements (to eliminate hunger, ensure food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agricultural practices), Elior Group decided to commit to, and oblige its suppliers to observe recognized breeding standards that respect animal welfare.

For Elior Group, animal welfare is essential to animal health and thus a vital link in the sustainable supply chain. For this reason, the Group has made animal welfare an integral part of its CSR strategy, the Positive Foodprint Plan. As such, Elior Group has adopted a stance that involves protecting the health, and ensuring the comfort of animals at the physical and psychological levels.

Group actions to promote animal welfare in the UK and France

For Elior Group, the dishes prepared by its teams every day should contribute to the well-being of its guests and provide essential nutritional elements while respecting the environment and the food-chain ecosystem.

To better account for animal welfare, Elior Group has devised a set of tools for all of its stakeholders. Last January, Elior France forged a partnership with Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) to define the requirements needed to ensure the welfare of all animal species by implementing a set of adapted tools and raising awareness of its teams and partners. A training session on the challenges specific to every animal species was organized for employees and expert auditors. 

In France, 84% of Elior Group's meat and egg suppliers signed the Group's charter after a new set of animal-welfare criteria had been integrated in the audit grid.

In the UK, Elior has worked closely with CIWF to develop a purchasing strategy based on animal welfare and local sourcing. 36% of whole shell eggs are now free range. 

Key areas of focus for Elior Group from 2018 to 2025

Group suppliers are required to adopt the breeding practices recognized as being the most respectful to animal welfare and to adhere to the ‘Five Freedoms’ of the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC), notably to ensure:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  • Freedom from fear and distress
  • Freedom to behave in a way that is normal for each species.

As of 2018, this obligation will apply to all suppliers worldwide and all animal species purchased by the Group. Elior Group has also committed to cease the sourcing of cage eggs before 2025 in favor of suppliers who promote better farming conditions for broiler chickens. More precisely, the Group has committed to working with chicken producers to reduce the stocking density, improve the living conditions, and source chickens with slower growth rates, and more generally, help advance the farming, transport and slaughtering techniques to optimize animal welfare.

In addition, to address the concerns of their stakeholders, all markets will be required to draw up a map of their supply chains. This will enable them to identify the challenges and opportunities therein and progressively make commitments specific to each species and reinforce their regional requirements.

Furthermore, all Group entities have committed to raising the awareness of their procurement teams, by implementing reporting tools and solid management systems, as well as control and auditing procedures at the in-house and external levels.  With regard to antibiotics, breeding, transport and slaughter, animal welfare is a key priority. 

To ensure animal welfare, Elior Group is aware of the need to forge trusting and productive relationships with its suppliers, understand their challenges and partner with them in the vital quest to respect the welfare of animals.

Elior Group CEO, Philippe Guillemot, stated: "Changing an entire ecosystem takes time. Because our commitments are ambitious we need to learn from the experiences of all involved. We must ensure that our commitments and those made by all players throughout the chain are understood, feasible and measurable. For this reason, CIWF is assisting us at every step of the way.”

Hayley Roberts, Food Business Manager at CIWF UK, added: "We are proud to accompany Elior Group in its welfare improvement process and applaud the far-reaching commitments the Group has made to foster animal welfare, notably in the egg and poultry segments. Commitments like these will make our food system more sustainable by promoting less intensive production methods that are in line with growing social demand and ensure the welfare of farm animals.