Farm Animal Welfare Charity, Compassion in World Farming, has appointed Jemima Jewell Head of Food Business to lead its European positive engagement programme, supporting Dr Tracey Jones, Director of the division.
Jemima, 30, is responsible for helping drive the continued success of the Food Business team in forging links with major companies in the food industry across Europe to raise baseline standards for animal welfare throughout their supply chains.
Compassion in Food Business achieves this by offering strategic advice and support using a range of ‘tools’:
- the work of European Food Business Managers, who, supported by Jemima, engage personally with individual companies, working in partnership with them to drive change
- the prestigious Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards programme which rewards companies for their current policies or commitments to specific criteria that result in positive benefits to farm animals throughout their supply chains
- the biennial Supermarket Survey that rates a retailer’s policies, performance and overall approach to welfare, providing participants with a bespoke, free, comprehensive and confidential feedback report to help them track their welfare performance against other European retailers
- the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare, the first structured benchmark of 80 of the world’s leading food companies, providing an objective account of the state of farm animal welfare as a business issue
Jemima, whose background is in corporate sustainability, has spent much of her career working with companies – from multi-nationals to small social enterprises – on how to harness the power of a business approach to address social and environmental challenges. She joined Compassion in World Farming from CSR Asia in Hong Kong, where she was Director of Partnerships, overseeing a network of around 80 companies around Asia, and delivering consultancy and training in sustainability strategy.
She says: “Animal Welfare is relatively immature compared to other CSR and sustainability issues. I hope to use my experience to help embed animal welfare as a recognised part of every food company’s CSR considerations and to identify where the synergies are between animal welfare and other sustainability issues. I feel fortunate to be working with such a brilliant team and to have a fantastic set of tools in place to help achieve this. The Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards, the Supermarket Survey and the Benchmark will all help me to articulate the business case for each individual company, identifying which drivers are most relevant to them, and supporting each company to both manage the risks and seize the opportunities that farm animal welfare presents.”
Compassion has set itself an ambitious target of positively impacting the lives of one billion farm animals. As of March 2014, Compassion was nearly a third of the way there with 287 million animals set to benefit from its award winners’ policies. The target is challenging, especially in these financially difficult times when both businesses and consumers are struggling. Retailers who are currently cutting prices on essential goods such as eggs, milk and bread are not helping in the long term – they are putting additional pressure on farmers and risking more waste as consumers buy more of what is on special offer and then don’t actually use it. Actions such as this, together with the pressure of an ever increasing global population that needs feeding, could result in a knee-jerk reaction leading to the further intensification of animal farming. This is not the way to go. Instead we all need to eat less meat, waste less and ensure that what we do eat is of higher welfare origins to raise animal welfare standards and value the lives of the animals reared to feed us. To an extent this can be encouraged by consumer demand but such attitudinal change needs to be led and maintained from within the food industry.
Jemima concludes: “I believe wholeheartedly in the way and the speed with which big businesses can bring about change and am impressed by the level of influence that the Compassion team has had in leveraging attitudinal and behavioural change towards farm animal welfare in some of the world’s biggest food companies. I feel privileged to be working in an environment about which I personally feel so passionate and I can’t wait to make a serious contribution as the Head of Food Business.”