$1trn investor coalition targets antibiotics in meat and poultry supply chains

54 institutional investors write to 10 leading restaurant chains

A $1trn coalition of 54 institutional investors including Aviva Investors, Mirova and the Strathclyde Pension Fund have written to Domino’s Pizza Group, MacDonald’s and other major restaurant chains calling for an end to non-therapeutic use of antibiotics important to human health in global meat and poultry supply chains.

The investors are asking ten of biggest US and UK restaurant chains to set appropriate timelines to prohibit the use of all medically important antibiotics in their supply chains. The investors say they are concerned that a failure to confront irresponsible antibiotic use poses significant risks to their investments; such as stricter regulation around antibiotic uses and reputational damage.

To accompany the campaign group Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR) and charity ShareAction have also today released a new report – The restaurant sector and antibiotic risk – which finds half of the 10 global restaurant chains targeted have no publicly available policies in place to manage or mitigate antibiotic overuse in their supply chains. Further, none of the companies currently have a fully comprehensive policy on tackling antibiotic overuse.

The 10 companies written to by investors are: Brinker International Restaurants; Darden Restaurants; Domino’s Pizza Group; J.D. Wetherspoon; McDonald’s Corporation; Mitchells & Butlers; RestaurantBrands International; The Restaurant Group; The Wendy’s Company; and Yum! Brands.

The coalition of investors has been brought together by FAIRR and responsible investment charity ShareAction, with the support of US groups the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and As You Sow. Jeremy Coller, founder of the FAIRR Initiative and CIO of Coller Capital, said: “These large food companies are key ingredients in the portfolios of most of our pensions and savings – thus it is a case of proper risk management to ask them to work out how they will meet this challenge. The world is changing, regulation on antibiotic use is set to tighten and consumer preferences are shifting away from factory farmed food. As stewards of these food companies and responsible investors, we want to protect both human health and shareholder value.”

Elsewhere, restaurant brands Chipotle, Dunkin’ Brands and YUM! Brands have made new commitments towards packaging recycling and compositing, in reaction to shareholder proposals from As You Sow.

Fast food brand Chipotle announced a 50% food and packaging waste diversion goal by 2020. YUM! will adopt a diversion goal later this year, and Dunkin’ will report on the feasibility of a future recycling program for its coffee cups.

As a result, As You Sow has withdrawn its proposals at the companies.