We have some good news on the animal welfare front. In response to consumer and investor pressure, Darden companies, which owns Olive Garden and many other restaurant chains, agreed to take several important steps forward to ensure better treatment of animals in its supply chain.
Olive Garden has agreed to take the following steps to improve animal welfare:
- purchase chicken raised without the use of medically important antibiotics by 2023,
- source pork products from suppliers that do not use gestation crates to confine pregnant sows by 2025, and
- continue to source all egg products from cage-free producers.
While these steps do not put Darden in a leadership position within the industry, they mark an important move in the right direction for the Fortune 500 company with over 1,500 restaurants nationwide.
Consumer and Investor Pressure Pay Off
Green America joined with allies in the Good Food Now Campaign to pressure Darden to purchase foods that are better for the environment and animal welfare, and are sourced locally, and to improve working conditions and pay for its over 150,000 employees. Thousands of Green Americans took action with us to reach out to Darden and joined protests at their restaurants. In addition, Green Century Funds, a Green America Business Member, engaged in a multi-year dialogue and filed shareholder resolutions with Darden to get them to address antibiotic abuse in their supply chain.
Darden clearly has a long way to go to become a more responsible restaurant chain, but if you are a customer of any of their restaurants, please let them know you are pleased with this first step and would like to see them do more to protect people and the planet – including sourcing local and organic foods and better pay for their employees.
Support Green and Local Restaurants
And, if you are looking to use your consumer dollars to support greener options, check out these restaurants from our GreenPages.org, or support locally-owned restaurants in your community, particularly if they use organic and local ingredients.