Scandinavian furniture giant Ikea has turned its sustainability credentials to poultry to launch a Better Chicken Programme.
The iconic firm, which has 20 stores across the UK, wants its Better Chicken Programme to kick-start its ambitions for more sustainable agriculture for all major animals in its food supply chain.
The Better Chicken Programme will:
• Ensure broiler chickens are raised in accordance with criteria that promote better welfare; such as adequate space (max 30kg/square metre), lighting, enrichment and breeds with improved health outcomes;
• Work towards responsible use of antibiotics;
• Address key environmental impacts such as pollution from manure and deforestation.
Its criteria will be implemented in two stages based on feasibility – certain criteria have a 2020 deadline, with final compliance by 2025.
Jacqueline Macalister, IKEA Food Services health and sustainability manager, said the Better Chicken Programme demonstrated the company’s commitment to sustainable agriculture initiatives for farm animals and its commitment to “driving positive change in the food industry.”
The Programmes are being developed with experts, NGOs and suppliers and will set minimum requirements for sourcing across chickens, laying hens, pigs, salmon, beef and dairy cattle.
Dr Tracey Jones, Compassion in World Farming director of food business, welcomed the initiative, saying it would make a difference in its supply chain beyond the UK, including Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.
Last November, CIWF criticised the company for withdrawing from its prized global Good Chicken Award.
Oistein Thorsen, Food animal initiative director, which has worked with the company for the past two years, praised IKEA’s “holistic and ambitious improvement plans for all species in their food supply chain, designed to promote animal-centered and regenerative farming systems.”