We work with companies in order to improve their animal welfare standards as well as their vegan offerings.
Ending the use of battery cages
See our campaign.
Ending beak searing
See our campaign.
Reducing suffering in aquaculture
Late in 2015, a leading German retailer decided to cooperate with us on better trout welfare in aquaculture. In 2016, we worked with a consultant and produced a paper outlining areas for improvement: transport, hygiene, antibiotics use, water quality, slaughter, inspecting carcasses at slaughter, expertise of workers. We also had several meetings (including one with a supplier). The next steps are to develop criteria and an educational program for trout farmers (paid for by the retailer), to implement the criteria and to get more retailers to do the same. The retailer we worked with already has expressed interest in cooperating with us on other fish species as well.
Working with supermarket chains on producing animal welfare policies
We pride ourselves of not only being able to bring about short-term wins, but to also develop long-term relationships with important food companies. One of the most prominent signs of success in this area is the fact that we are cooperating closely with several supermarket chains in order to produce and refine their animal welfare policies. We were recently able to make meaningful contributions to several policies and regularly give detailed ex-post feedback that is being considered in the following updates. Details cannot be published for reasons of confidentiality. In 2017, we published a detailed comparison of animal welfare standards among the eleven largest supermarket chains in Germany (the German publication can be downloaded here). We see this benchmark as a helpful tool to highlight both progress as well as deficiencies in the industry standards and plan to update it every two years.
Vegan supermarket benchmarking
German food companies in general and retailers in particular pay a lot of attention to what their competitors are doing – this includes many kinds of sustainability issues. Having seen an impressive impact by a “sustainable fish” benchmarking done by Greenpeace, the idea was born to have a benchmarking for vegan-friendliness. Almost all of the leading German supermarket chains actively participated in our benchmarking, giving us numbers on their vegan products in different food categories.
One direct result of the benchmarking were several meetings with chains in order to discuss the results and to talk about improvements that can be made. Both the vegan product range in supermarkets and communication efforts have been growing since the benchmarking, although it is impossible to tell how much impact the general trend has vs. our benchmarking. However, it has become very clear that the retailers pay a lot of attention to the benchmarking and want to rank higher in the future, which is reason alone to keep on following this approach.
Vegan guide for universities and caterers
After having worked with many universities on implementing more and better vegan options and having realized a general need for background information, product recommendations and recipes, we decided to publish a vegan guide. To do so, we spoke with most of the 58 German university dining operations (each operation caters for several universities) and discussed problems, best practices, etc. with them.
The result is a 180 page guide that is available online for free and in print for a small nominal sum because most costs are covered by ads. It contains approx. 80 large scale cooking recipes including main dishes, side dishes and desserts that were all provided by the university dining operations.
Making plant-based options more mainstream
As with our cage-free campaign, we are very conservative in counting our successes. We only account for steps that were direct results of our conversations and partnerships with companies. To get a better idea of the impact we generated, we established a system that takes into account the revenue of the company, the magnitude of the step that was taken, and the potential influence on other companies. In 2016, we worked with 48 companies and dining operations to generate 66 impact points, in 2017 we talked to 55 companies to achieve 74 impact points.
Examples of success are:
- Getting a national pizza chain to test and to later fully implement and increase vegan options
- working with a leading pasta producer to offer vegan filled pasta squares
- getting producers of vegetarian and vegan meats to offer more vegan products
- increasing the number of vegan options at Deutsche Bahn restaurants (only operator of long-distance trains)
- cooperating with universities to implement more and better vegan options and working on their communication
- working with supermarket chains to offer more vegan products and to positively communicate around the topic.
Website and newsletter for food industry decision makers
Further building on the fact that the actions of competitors can help drive progress in food companies, we launched the website lebensmittel-fortschritt.de (rough translation: “food progress”) and a corresponding monthly newsletter that we send out to our food business contacts. Website and newsletter are all about showing and explaining good animal welfare and plant-based steps taken by food companies.
We get a lot of promising feedback about the newsletter – including companies asking us to feature their latest efforts.