Social responsibilities policy

Overview
Doing our best for animals, people and the environment.

Animals
We practise what we preach and are a trusted and leading public example of treating animals with compassion and respect in everything we do as an organisation. From the food our business buys for our staff, to who we choose to work with, we will make sure animal welfare is our top priority.

Environment
We do everything we can to reduce our negative impact on the environment, throughout all areas of our business.

People
We treat everyone with respect and integrity, and celebrate diversity. We commit to these statements in order to empower people to make an informed decision about products that carry our logo.

 

Introduction
Why do we need a ‘social responsibility policy’?

We know that a lot of what’s in this document will seem like common sense to most readers. But ‘behaving responsibly’ can mean different things to different people. That’s why we’ve created this policy; to be absolutely clear on our expectations of others, and what others can expect from us. 

We want to be honest and open and we hope this document will help us have an even more positive impact on animals, the environment and the people around us by: 

  • Guiding us on how to act and make decisions ethically and consistently 
  • Consolidating existing policies into one, easy to read, place
  • Helping us minimise any potential negative impact of our work

Who it’s for:

  • Suppliers
  • Partners
  • Members

Animals
We want to be the leading and most trusted public example when it comes to animal welfare. To do this, we aim to improve the way we do things, and be more transparent in our approach, as well as sharing knowledge with others.

Here are some ways that we can have a more positive effect on animals, and realise our mission for all animals to have a good life.

RSPCA Assured labelled products
Certified suppliers must follow the animal welfare standards written by the RSPCA. If they don’t, they run the risk of having their membership revoked.

The RSPCA Assured mark (name or logo) may not be used on products or in dishes that contain eggs, pork, chicken or salmon (the most readily available RSPCA Assured products) that is not from an RSPCA Assured certified supplier (and the supply chain must be proven).

Products that use our mark must not contain ingredients from farming systems that we deem unacceptable, such as eggs from caged hens, meat from animals that have been slaughtered without pre-stunning, or imported pork from pigs raised on slats or using farrowing crates or sow stalls.

We have a strict set of guidelines, which explain using the RSPCA Assured logo in more detail.

Purpose 

To improve the lives of animals. 

Vision

For all animals to have a good life. 

Strategic aims 

  1. To become the most trusted assurance provider in the UK and target markets 
  2. To provide the highest standards and compliance in the world 
  3. To deliver industry-leading service for our stakeholders 
  4. To seize opportunities to grow our organisation and ensure financial sustainability

 

Our food policy 

Our internal food policy outlines the products that can be purchased on behalf of RSPCA Assured, for example catering for meetings. We believe we must practice what we preach, and therefore only approved higher welfare products, or vegetarian or vegan alternatives may be served. 

We also have requirements for the partners we work with, such as social media influencers or celebrities. 

We understand that people’s diets are very personal, however certain foods contradict our stance on animal welfare by inflicting unnecessary pain and suffering or threatening rare and exotic species. It would be hypocritical of us to work with any individual who actively promotes any of these products, or has made social media posts in support of them and we are therefore unable to do so.

This includes eggs from caged hens, white veal, foie gras, octopus, frogs’ legs, rabbit, duck, meat from animals slaughtered without pre-stunning (including lobsters, crayfish and crabs), meat from rare or exotic species such as ostrich, zebra, shark and crocodile, and Beluga caviar. 

If you have any questions about this policy, please email hello@rspcaassured.org.uk.

Conduct towards animals 

It’s important to us that our partners, suppliers and members understand and support our purpose, vision and goals so that we can all work together to make sure all animals have a better life. 

The RSPCA is against the infliction of pain, suffering, distress or fear, or the killing of any animal used in the name of sport, entertainment or fashion, or as part of a traditional or customary event. 

Its mission is “to ensure animals have a good life by rescuing and caring for those in need, by advocating on behalf of all animals and by inspiring everyone to treat them with compassion and respect”. 

We will endeavour not to do business with companies or individuals that knowingly mistreat or exploit animals, including supporting or directly conducting unnecessary or scientifically trivial experiments or procedures on animals. 

We also reserve the right to cease working with any supplier or partner, or to terminate the membership of any individual who is found to be mistreating or exploiting animals. 

Environment

In order to have a more positive impact on the environment, we need to have a better understanding of what our current impact actually is.

Internally, our main areas of impact are:

  • Resource use (energy, fuel, water, paper)
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Waste and recycling

Our impact can also be seen in:

  • Sourcing of products and services
  • RSPCA Assured certified sites
  • RSPCA Assured labelled products

Sourcing of products and services

Where possible, local suppliers will be prioritised. We will also bulk order wherever appropriate to reduce unnecessary deliveries.

Any merchandise produced on behalf of RSPCA Assured, from stationery to uniforms, must be from sustainable and ethical suppliers. Before purchasing any products or services, we will check the ethical credentials of potential suppliers.

RSPCA Assured certified sites

Within each of the RSPCA species welfare standards documents, specific environmental standards and recommendations are detailed, such as the responsible disposal of slurry, use of chemicals, and maintenance of farm vehicles.

While the environment isn’t a core focus of our certification scheme, we recognise that poor environmental practices can have a huge impact on both farmed and wild animals, so we encourage our members to be as environmentally conscious as possible.

RSPCA Assured labelled products

In consultation with The Environment Agency, WWF, WRAP UK and our members, we introduced new policies in 2019 on the inclusion of soy and palm oil in products carrying the RSPCA Assured logo, as well as guidelines on the use of plastic packaging.

These policies will come into full effect in 2021, and cover:

  • Requirements for appropriate sourcing of sustainable palm oil to be used in RSPCA Assured products
  • Requirements for appropriate sourcing of sustainable soy to be used in RSPCA Assured products
  • Guidance on appropriate sourcing of soy to be used in animal feed
  • Elimination of problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging for RSPCA Assured products
  • Adoption of reusable or recyclable materials in packaging
  • Proactive promotion of effectively recycling, composting, or repurposing of packaging
  • Increase in use of recycled content in all plastic packaging carrying the RSPCA Assured certification mark

People

As part of the RSPCA family, RSPCA Assured follows the RSPCA’s policies on diversity, inclusion and integrity.

Diversity, inclusion and integrity 

We commit to hire with integrity, ensuring that all our staff understand and are fully committed to our purpose, vision and goals; to ensure that all animals have a better life. You can view details about RSPCA Assured’s governance 

This also applies to our selection process for suppliers and partners. We will not knowingly work with any businesses or individuals who contravene any of our policies. 

This includes policies on modern slavery, a growing list of environmental issues, diversity and inclusion, and animal welfare. 

We will not tolerate the mistreatment of workers. If any of our members are found to be exploiting workers, their membership will be terminated.

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