Responsible Sourcing

Preserving our planet is critical, and we are continuously working to reduce our environmental impact through agriculture and supply chains. Subway® proudly serves communities across the globe and is committed to choosing supply chain partners that support high standards for environmental, animal and worker welfare.


Approach to responsible sourcing

Subway® works with IPC EMEA, an independent non-profit making organisation owned by Subway® Franchisees in the region, who provide purchasing, management, and supply of Subway® approved food, packaging, and services.

 

In partnership with our franchisees and IPC EMEA, the Subway® brand is committed to achieving sustainable and ethical sourcing and supply chain management. We support principles of responsible farming, fishing, and animal husbandry for the long-term sustainability of the earth's natural resources and communities across the globe.

Vendor Code of Conduct

We are continuously working towards making the safeguards of our supply chain more robust and ensuring compliance to our standards. We are working with our supply chain partners to implement SEDEX membership to support compliance.

Sustainable Agriculture

By working directly with farmers, when possible, we believe we can improve the supply and quality of our ingredients, reduce environmental impacts, and play a role in building healthier communities across the globe. We strive to do our part in improving farming practices to preserve natural ecosystems and ensure a healthy global farming system for generations to come. At the same time, we recognise that agriculture is a local operation, each of which presents different opportunities and challenges when promoting sustainable agricultural practices.

 

Sustainable Fishing

We recognise the vital importance of sustainable fishing - both commercially and ecologically. Our long-term goal is to work with the industry to move to more sustainable practices worldwide.

 

Responsible Palm Oil Sourcing

Palm oil is used as an ingredient in a small number of Subway® products due to its desired characteristics and because it supports our initiative to eliminate added trans fats. We believe the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is the primary sustainability standard for palm oil products and have been sourcing RSPO certified palm oil for Subway® products in Europe since 2015.

 

Animal Welfare

Subway® believes that where our ingredients come from and how our animals are bred, raised, transported, and slaughtered are integral to preparing great food for our guests. We take the issue of animal welfare seriously and believe the ethical treatment of animals is an essential component of our commitment to responsible sourcing. Subway’s® animal welfare policy outlines our commitment to providing our guests with safe and quality food, in a responsible manner.

 

Our animal welfare policy is founded on the Five Freedoms principles proposed by the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) on the protection of animals kept for farming purposes.

 

As part of our ongoing commitment to improving animal welfare throughout our supply chain, we are happy to be working with Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), a widely recognised global leader in animal welfare. In collaboration with CIWF, we will continue to evaluate emerging and evolving systems and practices to advance long-term improvements in animal welfare throughout our global supply chain.

Subway® takes the issue of antimicrobial resistance seriously and believes that responsible stewardship of antibiotics in the raising of farm animals is an essential component of our commitment to responsible sourcing. Our policy is that antibiotics can be used to treat, and control disease, but not for growth promotion or routine disease prevention of farm animals. Antibiotics are never used to promote growth or used prophylactically. Subway® has developed a Global Antibiotics policy.

 

Click here to read our Animal Welfare Policy

Click here to read our Global Antibiotics Policy

European Chicken Commitment

At Subway®, we take the welfare of our chicken supply seriously. In 2021, we committed to the European Chicken Commitment (ECC), which requires our suppliers* to review current practices and meet the standards for 100% of the chicken* in its European managed supply chain.

 

What is Subway’s® commitment?

Subway® made a commitment that it intends to adhere to the ECC with the understanding that achieving the ECC standard will require industry-wide change. We can’t do this alone, and with the support of the industry and our suppliers we continue to monitor our progress to meet the six requirements set out in the European Chicken Commitment. Signing up to the European Chicken Commitment isn’t a tick box exercise, we do it because we believe in the need for better chicken welfare, and the safety and quality of our products.

 

Where do we currently stand and what progress have we made?

Subway® requires suppliers to report on their chicken welfare and we have committed to assessing progress through supplier questionnaires. Data below is from July 2022-June 2023.

 

  • 59% of broiler chickens are reared at stocking densities of 30kg/m2
  • 59% of broiler chickens provided with natural light
  • 63% of broiler chickens provided with perches and pecking substrates
  • 21% CAS slaughter
  • 61% of third-party suppliers audited

 

The six ECC requirements

1. Comply with all EU animal welfare laws and regulations, regardless of the country of production.

2. Implement a maximum stocking density of 30kg/mor less. Thinning is discouraged and if practiced must be limited to one thin per flock.

3. Adopt breeds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes: either the following breeds, Hubbard Redbro (indoor use only); Hubbard Norfolk Black, JA757, JACY57, 787, 957, or 987, Rambler Ranger, Ranger Classic, and Ranger Gold, or other breeds that meet the criteria of the RSPCA Broiler Breed Welfare Assessment Protocol.

4. Meet improved environmental standards including: 

  • No cages or multi-tier systems
  • Improved natural light.
  • At least two metres of usable perch space, and two pecking substrates, per 1,000 birds.
  • On air quality, the maximum requirements of Annex 2.3 of the EU broiler directive, regardless of stocking density.

5. Adopt controlled atmospheric stunning using inert gas or multi-phase systems, or effective electrical stunning without live inversion.

6.  Demonstrate compliance with the above standards via third-party auditing and annual public reporting on progress towards this commitment..

 

Statement of Intent

Electrical water bath stunning is the main method used globally for the slaughter of poultry. There are, however, significant animal welfare concerns with this method and in 2012 the European Food Safety Authority called for an end to its use [1]. Effective electric alternatives are yet to be developed. However, recognising that under halal standards, Controlled Atmosphere Systems may not be accepted as the animal must not be dead at the time of slaughter (cutting), it is a bare minimum that a stunning method which renders the animal insensible to pain, but still alive, is developed and adopted as soon as possible.

 

We Subway® agree to:

  • Actively press our suppliers and support the latest research projects[2] to find alternatives to electrical water bath as a matter of urgency;
  • Support the call for more humane systems for the effective electric stunning of poultry without conscious inversion to be developed and commercially available by no later than 1st January 2026.
  • Commit to investing and adopting such a stunning method (without conscious inversion) as soon as it is commercially available.

*This applies to all fresh, frozen and processed chicken in Subway's® European managed supply chain

 

[1] ESFA 2012 report, pg.35

[2] For example, by engaging with the Effective Electrical Stunning roundtable convened by Compassion in World Farming

Laying Hens

Subway® seeks to transition our entire supply chain to egg procurement practices with improved animal welfare outcomes. In Europe, 100% of the eggs we purchase are either free-range or cage-free*. Subway® has been sourcing free-range eggs since 2010, winning multiple “Good Egg Awards” from Compassion in World Farming (CIWF).

 

In regions where supply is limited, we are committed to working with the industry and suppliers to find solutions to source cage-free or free-range eggs. 

 

*Subway® does not manage operations, marketing or supply chain in countries that are managed by an independent master franchisee.

FAQs

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