AUSTRALIANS want to know if the businesses they engage with operate in ways that align with their values. Are those businesses sourcing responsibly?
We know Australians care about farm animal welfare and want to support responsibly sourced animal-based products, as has been seen with the uptake of cage free eggs.
While Australians understand that animals are farmed for food, they also believe farm animals deserve a good life and a humane death, with the expectation that businesses believe this too.
Forward-thinking businesses are recognising how important it is to reflect these values, both to maintain community support and remain viable.
This crucial public acceptance is known as having a ‘social licence’ to operate.
For animal-based industries that source from them, it’s becoming more important to consider and improve animal welfare in order to maintain their social licence.
In response, many have made the shift to better practices, sourcing responsibly and maintaining their social licence.
To responsibly source animal-based products, it’s vital that businesses have proactive relationships with their suppliers to enable them to go right back to the source and engage directly on animal management practices.
From this position, businesses are well placed to thoroughly review their supply chains to understand any current animal welfare issues and how these can be addressed.
The RSPCA has developed responsible sourcing guides for key species, which provide businesses with a step-by-step process for exactly this.
As part of the RSPCA’s responsible sourcing guides, short and long-term goals applicable to the current Australian market and production are available for businesses to use when planning next steps.
Most importantly, businesses that are responsibly sourcing animal-based products should publish a public-facing animal welfare policy.
The policy should clearly identify who is responsible for animal welfare within the company, articulate how the policy is governed and, based on the outcome of the supply chain analysis, outline goals for improving animal welfare.
Not part of the procurement process but wanting to help source responsibly?
You can still help to encourage businesses to source responsibly, even if you’re not part of the procurement process.
As an example, you might be looking to ensure your workplace is doing their part to incorporate animal welfare standards in their operations.
Consider sharing the RSPCA’s responsible sourcing guides with your business procurement team or starting the conversation with colleagues about developing formal animal welfare policy.
If you’re an individual who cares about animal welfare, you can also ask companies that you purchase from about their supply chains – the guides are for consumers too!
You can use them as a tool to ask informed questions of your favourite companies and brands.
No matter our role in the supply chain, we can all play a part in ensuring that businesses source animal-based products responsibly.
With the right tools, businesses can improve operations and enhance their social standing, consumers can make informed choices from companies they trust – both contributing to the shared goal of a good quality of life for animals.