Corporate Social Responsibility and Farm Animal Welfare: Towards Sustainable Development in the Food Industry?

  • John LeverEmail author
  • Adrian Evans
Part of the CSR, Sustainability, Ethics & Governance book series (CSEG)


In recent years, CSR has grown in importance as supermarkets and corporate retailers have responded to consumer concerns over the growing prominence of a range of issues linked to environmental sustainability and farm animal welfare (FAW). Improvements in FAW can be aligned closely with the three pillars of sustainable development—social, economic and environmental sustainability. Animal agriculture has a significant impact on climate change and is in direct competition with humans for water, food, space and other scarce resources. Factory farming also spreads pathogens, with the potential to increase infectious diseases, and also significantly underlines livelihoods in rural communities. Corporate retailers are now seen to be socially and ethically accountable to both their immediate stakeholders and wider society, and it is this situation that has brought about the increased use of CSR as a means of promoting their efforts in this area.

As well as making significant improvements on the social and environmental issues, there is great potential for better FAW to improve business performance by increasing efficiencies of production, sustainable procurement and consumption practices, whilst enhancing food safety. In is in this context that the Business Benchmark for Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) has emerged to examine how companies work to improve FAW. The benchmark evaluates the performance of supermarkets and corporate retailers in this area by examining a range of CSR related publicity materials. This chapter draws on research from a number of recent EU projects on FAW to assess how, if and in what ways the BBFAW helps supermarkets and corporate retailers to further sustainable development through CSR.


Corporate Social Responsibility Supply Chain Sustainable Development Animal Welfare Corporate Social Responsibility Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HuddersfieldHuddersfieldUK
  2. 2.Coventry UniversityCoventryUK

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