RSPCA targets firms' animal welfare record

The RSPCA is putting animal welfare at the heart of the corporate responsibility debate via an awards scheme for firms with strong policies in this area - and plans to apply pressure to companies neglecting the issue.

The charity, whose 36,300 members make it the world's largest animal welfare organisation, said the Alternative Awards - to take place in October - will recognise companies that have made improvements in their animal welfare practices.

Awards will be divided into five sectors: food retailers, restaurants, fast-food outlets, fashion houses and cosmetic manufacturers. Both the overall 'best performer' and 'most improved' companies in each category will win the right to use an animal welfare logo on their branding.

RSPCA head of external affairs David Bowles said he believed it was time to address the gap between the animal welfare standards wanted by consumers and the standards offered by companies.

'If you tackle this issue in the marketplace you get an instant response,' said Bowles.

'Consumers understand animal welfare and will adjust their purchases accordingly, so this is a big issue for businesses.'

The charity has briefed Seventy Seven PR to launch the awards. The Fishburn Hedges spin-off will approach the UK's biggest companies through a direct mail and B2B PR campaign and talk to consumers via national media.

The awards will be presented at a gala event at London's Natural History Museum.

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