Animal Health and Welfare Guiding Principles
The Coca‑Cola Company is committed to the humane treatment of animals, and we prioritize continuous improvement in animal health and welfare. We expect our suppliers to adhere to certain standards and treat animals with care, understanding and respect.
We require our suppliers worldwide to follow applicable local, regional, and international legislation and regulations for animal health and welfare. While today's legal environment is evolving, we are committed to going beyond regulations where needed, to comply with our guiding principles and global areas of focus.
We will work to adopt a comprehensive, systemic vision for animal health and welfare. We aim to ensure that 100% of the ingredients we source meet sustainable agriculture principles and responsible animal health and welfare conditions.
We are guided by the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare. We require all suppliers to implement practices and pursue continuous improvement for:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst: by ready access to fresh quality water and a diet that maintains full health and vigor.
- Freedom from discomfort: by an appropriate environment, including shelter and comfortable resting areas.
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease: by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment
- Freedom to express normal behavior: by providing enough space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
- Freedom from fear and distress: by ensuring conditions and care that avoids mental suffering.
We recognize that animals are sentient beings, capable of feeling positive emotions such as joy or contentment, as well as negative emotions such as stress and fear. Recent advances in welfare science acknowledge that good animal welfare encompasses mental wellbeing, the ability to express species-specific behaviors and improves the effective state of the animal.
As we continue our journey, we will continue to seek feedback from global experts on animal health and welfare to align to science-based practices. We recognize we are on a journey, and as a leading company within the FMCG environment, we play an important role in helping to define and shape the future.
We require our suppliers to have a zero-tolerance policy for willful acts of animal abuse and neglect, which must include a definition of what constitutes abuse and neglect, and potential consequences should abuse or neglect occur. This policy must be relayed to all individuals who work with or around live animals.
To encourage the reporting of suspected incidents, we require an accompanying whistle blower policy that allows team members to report any suspected incidents of abuse, neglect or improper animal handling practices.
In addition to eradicating willful acts of abuse and neglect, we expect our suppliers to adopt a proactive approach to demonstrating and assuring sustainable farming practices and animal health and welfare by identifying and adopting relevant third-party standards to assure best practices.
Future Sustainability Commitments
Animal Health and Welfare will be embedded into our Sustainable Agriculture Program and the reviewed Sustainable Agriculture Guiding Principles (SAGP).
The Coca‑Cola Company is a member of the global Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI Platform) and supports the development work in the active SAI Working Groups.
We will continue to seek an open dialogue and engagement with leading farm standard organizations, stakeholders, animal welfare experts, suppliers, industry and other companies to further build our knowledge and leadership.
We will further strengthen the governance mechanisms behind the Sustainable Agriculture program on a global level and establish clear guidance for our local and new businesses. We are committed to transparency and will report on our goals and progress.
Global Area of Focus: Dairy
In addition to the above guiding principles, The Coca‑Cola Company is focused on driving continuous improvement in the following areas:
- Painful procedures (including debudding, castration and dehorning): we encourage the development and adoption of practical alternatives that mitigate or eliminate painful procedures, and we encourage the use of pain mitigation that includes timeliness of procedures and use of anesthetic and/or analgesic.
- Tail docking: we support the elimination of tail docking in our entire dairy supply chain. This includes farms supplying new livestock, eliminating the purchase of tail docked cattle.
- Physical cattle branding (hot or freeze iron): We seek to eliminate the use of physical brands on all dairy cattle. Where branding is mandated by local law or legislation, we will work with relevant industry platforms to engage with policy-makers to develop alternatives to branding.
- Antibiotic / Hormone use: we understand that the responsible use of medically important antibiotics is needed to support the health and welfare of dairy animals. However, we believe antibiotics and/or hormones should be used only as necessary to maintain animal health.
- Accommodation / Housing: the environment in which animals are kept must be designed to protect them from physical and thermal discomfort, fear and distress. We encourage husbandry systems that provide enough space, proper facilities and interaction with other animals of the same kind.
- Transportation Practice: we require all farms and transporters to implement programs that ensure the safe and humane movement of animals both to and from farms.
- Health management and longevity: Care and good herd management is fundamental to produce high-quality milk. We will continuously work with suppliers to support good farming practices to avoid risk of pain and diseases, including lameness, mastitis and early culling.
The Coca‑Cola Company does not conduct animal tests on its beverages or ingredients, except when explicitly required by governmental agencies to demonstrate safety. In these instances, we rely on third-party experts or external organizations to conduct these tests using protocols and test methods determined by government agencies. We encourage our ingredient and packaging suppliers and external research organizations to use animal alternatives, if such tests are available and acceptable to government agencies to demonstrate safety.