Amid considerable market interest in meat substitutes recently - Beyond Meat saw its share price jump 163% in the first day of trading following its IPO - Actiam and KBI Global Investors have signed up to the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW).
The announcement takes the number of institutional investors supporting the BBFAW Global Investors Collaboration to some 24, representing some £2.4trn (€2.8trn) of assets, including: Aberdeen Standard Investments, ACTIAM, Australian Ethical Investments, Aviva Investors, BMO Asset Management, BNP Paribas Investment Partners, Brunel Pension Partnership, Candriam, Castlefield Investment Partners LLP, the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church, Coller Capital, EdenTree Investment Management, Epworth Investment Management, Karner Blue Capital, KBI Global Investors, NEI Investments, Rathbone Greenbank Investments, Robeco, Schroders, Sonen Capital, The Sustainability Group of Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Trust, Trillium Asset Management, Triodos Bank and Walden Asset Management.
The Benchmark considers food producers, retailers and wholesalers, and restaurants and bars. It seeks to encourage better performance in areas such as management systems and processes, as well as reporting on farm animal welfare.
Eoin Fahy, head of Responsible Investing, KBI GI said: "Farm animal welfare is a major source of investment opportunity and of investment risk in the food and natural resources sectors. Participating in the BBFAW collaboration allows us to work with other investors to clearly communicate our expectation that companies will improve their practice and performance on farm animal welfare. These improvements will help us to deliver more sustained and sustainable investment returns over the short- and the long-term."
Maxime Molenaar, Responsible Investment officer, Actiam, added: "Animal welfare has been part of our sustainable investment approach for many years. We recognise that we have a responsibility to encourage the many food and agriculture-related companies in which we invest to adopt higher standards of farm animal welfare. Joining the BBFAW Investor Collaboration allows us to share expertise, to work effectively with other investors, and to support wider investor efforts in this area."
Rory Sullivan, expert advisor to BBFAW, said: "Investors have a key role to play in improving farm animal welfare across the food industry. In joining the BBFAW Collaboration, Actiam and KBI GI are sending a clear signal about their expectations of companies, and they are helping amplify and reinforce the messages being send by the other investors participating in the Collaboration."