The Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) is an investor-focused not-for-profit organisation, promoting large-scale investments that will deliver a global low carbon and climate resilient economy. CBI works to mobilise the $100 trillion bond market for climate change solutions.
On 23 June, CBI published its criteria for agriculture including livestock which include animal welfare.
The CBI criteria state:
“Where agricultural production includes livestock in intensive production systems, standards for animal welfare must be certified to one of the following schemes:
- Humane Farm Animal Care Certified Humane https://certifiedhumane.org/
- RSPCA Assured https://www.rspcaassured.org.uk/farm-animal-welfare/rspca-welfare-standards/
- Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World https://agreenerworld.org/certifications/animal-welfare-approved/
- Beter Leven levels 2&3 https://beterleven.dierenbescherming.nl/
- G.A.P levels 4&5 https://globalanimalpartnership.org/
If the issuer demonstrates that none of these schemes certify in the country where the operations are located, then assessment should be undertaken using the requirements (principles and the relevant species-specific mitigation criteria) detailed in the FARMS Initiative RMS (except those criteria relating to transportation and slaughter as these are out of the scope of the Agriculture criteria). These are available at https://farms-initiative.com.”
This is an important step forward for two reasons. First, it highlights that livestock production and animal welfare are central to tackling climate change. Second, the proliferation of different animal welfare schemes worldwide has led to some investors finding it difficult to set a global policy. However, the FARMS Responsible Minimum Standards are designed to provide a globally relevant framework for the minimum acceptable conditions for farmed animals. We therefore welcome the CBI’s recognition of the global relevance of the FARMS RMS.
The CBI background paper published to accompany the Criteria states:
“Examples of the animal welfare issues include:
Meat chickens: fast growth, heart failure, walking impairment, footpad injuries, mortality.
Laying hens: Caged confinement, weak bones leading to bone breakage, adverse behaviours such as feather pecking, invasive painful procedures, such as beak trimming.
Pigs: Permanent hunger for pregnant sows, caged confinement, adverse behaviours such as ear-and tail-biting, invasive painful procedures such as tail-docking.
Cattle: Permanent indoor housing as milk production requires almost constant feed intake; ‘unnatural’ diets consisting of grain, rather than herbage; no access to grazing or outdoors; housing on hard floors leading to lameness; invasive painful procedures, such as dehorning. Diets that have high levels of grain can cause digestive and other health problems for cattle. Acidosis is very common in cattle fed high levels of grain.
The ethical framework that provides a broad generic principle to safeguard animal welfare is often referred to as the Five Freedoms”