Submitted by: International Finance Corporation
Posted: Nov 14, 2006 – 10:24 PM EST
Washington, D.C.- The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today launched a Good Practice Note on Animal Welfare in Livestock Operations. The Note aims to increase awareness among existing and potential IFC clients in emerging markets on how following certain well-established animal welfare principles and practices can improve their business performance and help them gain competitive advantage. It does so by providing information on international trends and emerging good practices.
Animal welfare is gaining recognition as an important element of commercial livestock operations. The Note is meant as an information resource on developments in this area for livestock operators in emerging markets. Drawing on internationally recognized recommendations and input from key stakeholder groups, it provides general guidance on aspects of animal welfare such as the provision of feed and water, housing systems, health and disease management, good stockmanship, transport, and slaughter. It includes examples of IFC clients who followed certain of these guidelines were able to reduce their costs or cut their losses, thereby having a direct positive impact on their bottom line.
The publication also serves as a guide to various standards and market trends that could be of interest to IFC clients. For instance, livestock operators supplying food and other animal-based products to developed countries are seeing new opportunities arise from changing expectations among consumers. Several major international food outlets are already providing assurances to their customers about the welfare standards applied in their supply chains. Suppliers can differentiate themselves in these markets by improving their practices.
"We believe that the market is shifting and financial institutions have a stake in promoting the business case for changes that enhance sustainability in private-sector livestock operations. Promoting good practices in animal husbandry is also a critical component in avoiding the spread of diseases such as avian flu. We see this as fundamentally good business for us and our clients," Jean-Paul Pinard, Director, Agribusiness Department, IFC.
"As with other dimensions of sustainability, we aim to help our clients improve animal welfare while at the same time making businesses stronger and improving people's lives. Animal welfare is important for people who depend on animals for nutrition as well as their livelihoods. It is therefore a way for us to strengthen our contribution to development in the world's poorest countries," Rachel Kyte, Director, Environment and Social Development Department, IFC.
The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral provider of financing for private enterprise in developing countries. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in international financial markets, facilitates trade, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to businesses and governments.
From its founding in 1956 through FY06, IFC has committed more than $56 billion of its own funds for private sector investments in the developing world and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. With the support of funding from donors, it has also provided more than $1 billion in technical assistance and advisory services.
The Corporation aims to address rural poverty through agricultural investments aimed at supporting commercially viable supply chains, increasing farm productivity, and improving access to markets for agricultural businesses. IFC's Agribusiness Department currently has $240 million invested in 20 livestock and aquaculture projects worldwide, representing 19 percent of the department's portfolio.
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