THE WENDY'S COMPANY | Cage free eggs at THE WENDY'S COMPANY

Status
22.67% votes in favour
AGM date
Previous AGM date
Proposal number
4
Resolution details
Company ticker
NASDAQ: WEN
Lead filer
Resolution ask
Set targets or plans
ESG theme
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Animal welfare
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Filer type
Shareholder
Company sector
Consumer Discretionary
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
"RESOLVED: Shareholders ask Wendy’s to publish measurable, timebound targets for eliminating cage confinement from its egg supply in the U.S. and Canada and regularly report its progress meeting them.

Since this request is consistent with the practices of so many Wendy’s peers, the development of related regulations, and Wendy’s own statements, we believe shareholder support is clearly warranted. Thank you."
Supporting statement
"SUPPORTING STATEMENT: Dear fellow shareholders,

Wendy’s has become an outlier amongst its peers on a material responsible sourcing issue and we believe shareholder intervention is now needed.

The matter pertains to the cage confinement of egg-laying hens—a practice so controversial and cruel, many states now ban it (see, for example, CageFreeLaws.com).

Further, nearly every Wendy’s peer group company is addressing the issue by switching to cage-free eggs—including McDonald’s, Yum! Brands, Restaurant Brands International, Jack in the Box, Starbucks, Chipotle, Bloomin’ Brands, Dine Brands, Brinker, Cracker Barrel, Papa John’s, and Darden. In fact, McDonald’s already uses 88% cage-free eggs in the U.S., 85% in Canada, and will reach 100% in 2025.

As well, Arby’s, Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s, Denny’s, Sonic, Subway, Panera Bread, Dunkin’, White Castle, Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, Red Robin, Noodles & Co., and others have also made, or are making, the switch.

Their transitions make sense since, in addition to the substantial ethical concerns, animal welfare poses material risks. As Wendy’s own 2019 materiality assessment found, animal welfare has “High Materiality” regarding its “impact on business outcomes.” Wendy’s even says it’s a “core element” of quality assurance and has called proper animal treatment “imperative to providing safe and wholesome food.”

Regarding laying hens specifically: In 2016, Wendy’s pledged to use 100% cage-free eggs by 2020. Its announcement acknowledged this would create “improved egg laying conditions,” with Wendy’s officer Liliana Esposito saying, “We’re proud of our commitment to move to 100 percent cage-free eggs for breakfast items.”

After the initial announcement, Wendy’s website continued touting a goal “for all of eggs to be sourced from a cage free environment.” And in 2017, multiple company press releases publicized the “switch to a 100% cage-free housing environment for eggs by 2020.”

But now, Wendy’s lacks any such goal. Here’s what happened:

In 2016, only a few hundred Wendy’s served breakfast. After its national expansion in 2020, a shareholder proposal was submitted asking Wendy’s to confirm its pledge still covered all eggs. Wendy’s then issued a statement saying, actually, it would just apply to the locations that happened to have served breakfast in 2016.

Thus, despite acknowledging cage-free production’s “improved” conditions and animal welfare’s “high materiality,” Wendy’s reports that 94% of its eggs domestically come from caged hens.

And although Wendy’s has been saying since 2021 that “we expect our sourcing of eggs from cage-free systems to steadily increase,” its reporting shows less than a 1% increase since then—and, unlike so many peers, it lacks measurable targets for increasing."



Lead Filer: The Accountability Board

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