Animal care considerations have been a core element of Wendy’s quality assurance and supply chain practices for decades and many of the requirements we’ve developed for our suppliers have set the standard for the quick-service restaurant industry. We are guided by our long-standing relationships with progressive industry experts, many of whom serve on our Wendy’s Animal Welfare Council, and our data-based approach to animal welfare. Over the last two years, we have expanded the council to include expertise in auditing, animal science, well-being and behavior, with specialties across our key protein categories. We tasked the council with helping us raise the standards we apply to our protein supply chain and the process for driving continuous improvement. In 2020, we announced the first milestone of that effort, the Wendy’s Animal Care Standards Program.
To inform the development of new standards, the Wendy’s Animal Care Standards Program uses a detailed assessment tool that allows us to recognize progressive suppliers, better track farm conditions and animal care and quantify the results. While we’ve long conducted animal welfare audits to monitor, verify and evaluate proper animal handling, we are now cataloguing the animal welfare best practices across our key proteins (beef, pork, chicken, eggs and dairy) through this program and aiming to gain greater visibility further back within our supply chain.
We began implementing the program in 2020 by piloting the framework and validating the metrics to ensure its effectiveness in establishing new, even higher standards. We have also tailored and tested the assessment tool for our beef, pork and chicken supply chains and started evaluating our current suppliers in those areas. The results will inform how we demonstrate progress as part of our Responsible Sourcing program, help us determine which suppliers we seek to engage further and show us where we have opportunities for improvement. We will continue to evaluate these supply chains as we roll out the assessment tool to our egg and dairy supply chains. Additionally, we have made strides in determining the cadence and prioritization for conducting these evaluations, based on a risk-assessment model. As a result, for each protein supply chain, we will begin evaluating our direct suppliers of finished products, such as bacon or our hamburger patties, as well as suppliers of raw materials and, in some cases, all the way back to the farm.
Through this program, we are working to identify and recognize suppliers who go the extra mile. For example, we identified efforts by the Beef Marketing Group, a cooperative of beef producers and one of Wendy’s beef supply chain partners, to pilot and validate a system that quantifies greenhouse gas emissions to understand its own emissions baseline. The pilot, which began in 2021, enables the cooperative to track and analyze data related to feed rations, energy, fuel and water use, and more to get a real-time view of the footprint of its feedyards.
Suppliers will be assessed annually in the following areas, with scores adjusted for demonstrating progress in traceability and transparency, antibiotic use, stocking and housing conditions and euthanasia and stunning.