In my October 2, 2007 article, “Purchasing, Social Responsibility & Animals,” I predicted that animal-friendly purchasing “will escalate soon” and that we would be seeing “edicts to adopt animal-friendly purchasing practices.”
Well, while “soon” wasn’t as soon as I would have thought, the time that I foresaw has finally come. As I reported in February, Chipotle made a big splash at the Grammy Awards with their commercial/viral video that touted their practice of sourcing 100% of their pork from suppliers whose pigs are raised “outside or in deeply bedded pens, are never given antibiotics and are fed a vegetarian diet.” That was quickly followed by McDonald’s announcement that it “will require its U.S. pork suppliers to provide plans by May to phase out crates that tightly confine pregnant sows.”
Well, good ideas catch on fast. This week, Burger King made an announcement that will drastically affect its suppliers’ operations and perhaps even which suppliers that do business with the fast food giant. Specifically, Burger King “pledged that all of its eggs and pork will come from cage-free chickens and pigs by 2017,” according to an article on Xfinity Finance.
Though the entire article has many great excerpts that discuss the animal-friendly purchasing trend, there is one quote that I took particular interest in. It was from Paul Shapiro, the Humane Society’s vice president for farm animal protection. “This is an issue that just four to five months ago was not on the food industry’s radar,” he said. “Now it’s firmly cemented into the mainstream in a way that I think few people would have imagined.”
This quote sums up how agile you need to be in the purchasing profession. You need to be able to lead or react to trends at the drop of the proverbial hat.
Of course, if you keep up with the profession by seeking out and subscribing to cutting-edge educational material, you might be more prepared than your competition 😉
Now, if you think that animal-friendly purchasing is going to be limited to the food industry, you’re wrong. It will touch all industries. In which industry will it be prominent next? Yours? Don’t doubt it.