- Tyson has released the first portion of a "comprehensive sustainability report" that will continue to roll out in segments over the next five weeks, the company said. This is the first report of its kind from Tyson since it acquired Hillshire Brands in 2014.
- Positioned as an effort to "operate responsibly and with more transparency," the first part of the report details the company's animal well-being initiatives, according to Tyson. Future report segments will provide updates on corporate giving, environmental stewardship, product development, and the workforce.
- Details from the report so far include information about FarmCheck, an initiative for on-farm, third-party animal well-being audits that Tyson launched in 2012; an animal well-being policy that mirrors the internationally-accepted Five Freedoms for animal welfare; use of third-party remote video auditing to unveil bird treatment at chicken processing facilities; and plans for additional training for farmers who provide the company's broiler chickens.
Animal rights group Mercy for Animals calls the report "little more than PR fluff" and said it "falls far short of consumer expectations," according to a news release. That's no surprise, given the group's history of revealing hidden camera footage that allegedly shows Tyson workers mistreating animals at one of the company's chicken slaughterhouses. Mercy for Animals' chief complaint is that the policy is too vague about the concrete actions Tyson is taking to reduce animal cruelty in its supply chain.
Consumers may be pleased with certain company transparency efforts, like to reduce water consumption or find a sustainable ingredient source. But if a company has been called out for something like animal cruelty, it risks losing credibility if it can't effectively get a message across to consumers. Further, the company will be expected to demonstrate that policy being carried out going forward.
Transparency efforts are crucial today, but like any other aspect of business, those efforts can fail if they aren't strategically planned and appropriately positioned to meet or exceed consumer expectations.