Sustainable Sourcing

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.

 

Working with our franchisee owned, Independent Purchasing Cooperatives and Companies (IPC), 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.

 

Below in our Progress section you will find more information on our approach and actions taken to uphold our Responsible Sourcing standards.


Committing To Reducing Our Environmental Footprint

We understand that many of our customers want to buy products that support their local businesses and economy and where there are opportunities to buy products locally, we take advantage of them. Where this is not possible, it is our policy to source globally with integrity while delivering great value for money on products for our customers. We currently source the majority of our meat from Europe. When it is necessary to source outside Europe, suppliers must meet all EU standards and laws as a minimum requirement.

Responsible Palm Oil Sourcing

Palm oil is used as an ingredient in very few Subway® products due to its high quality, desired baking characteristics and because it supports our initiative to eliminate added Trans fats. We believe that best practice today is to source palm oil from RSPO members (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil). We endorse the RSPO as the primary sustainability standard for palm oil products.

Supplier Code of Conduct

We have stringent audit processes that we enforce throughout our supply chain as well as require that our suppliers’ employment practices meet our Supplier Code of Conduct and Supply Chain Employment Practices Policy. Our code of conduct prohibits forced labour/slavery as well as establishing our expectations for employment, workplace practices, compensation and benefits, discrimination, health and safety. We are working towards making the safeguards of our supply chain more robust. We are also working with our suppliers to ensure compliance to these standards and to ensure that none of our products are directly or inadvertently associated with human trafficking or slave labour.

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. Our consumers and stakeholders expect sourcing practices to reflect the highest standards. Subway’s® animal welfare policy outlines our commitment to meeting our stakeholders' expectations.

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 recognized 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 – in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) – for the responsible use of antibiotics within our supply chain and to address antibiotic overuse in animal protection. The Global Antibiotics Policy aligns to WHO recommendations to eliminate the use of antibiotics that are important to human health.

 

Click here to read our Animal Welfare Policy

Click here to read our Global Antibiotics Policy

 


Responsible Research

Subway®’s research processes and those of our partners are confidential for competitive reasons. However, Subway® does not conduct or fund research – including research funded by Subway® but performed by third parties – that utilizes any cloned organisms. Furthermore, any meat, dairy, poultry, fish or egg derived from a cloned animal, including subsequent generations, must not be used in Subway® menu offerings.

 

Responsible Sourcing Progress

Subway® is committed to constantly improving and doing our part to take care of the planet and communities around the globe.

 

We’ve ensured that all palm oil used in Subway products in Europe comes from certified sustainable sources (RSPO) and that our all eggs in Europe are free range.

 

We encourage you to continue to check this page as we regularly update our progress.

Broiler Chickens

Subway®, the world’s largest quick service restaurant chain, has confirmed its intent to adhere to the European Chicken Commitment (ECC), requiring its suppliers to review their current practices and meet the standards for 100% of the chicken* in its European managed supply chain. This commitment is made with the understanding that achieving the ECC will require industry-wide change, which is why Subway® has taken the time to participate in an industry roundtable and deep-dive into the commitment with our suppliers to determine its feasibility. Subway® will work closely with Compassion in World Farming and its supply chain to create a viable roadmap to achieve it.

 

By 2026, Subway® will require suppliers to meet the following requirements for 100% of the chicken* in its European supply chain:

 

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:

  • At least 50 lux of light, including 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.
  • No cages or multi-tier systems.

 

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 waterbath 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 waterbath as a matter of urgency;
  • Support the call for the use of water bath stunning to be banned by 2026, and new, 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

Pork

Subway® supports the elimination of gestation crates and we will work with our global suppliers to align our entire pork supply chain with a transition toward group housing. We have completely phased out gestation crates in our European supply chain, and we expect to reach similar milestones in the US by 2022 and Latin America by 2025.

Dairy

Subway® seeks to transition our entire global dairy supply chain to be free of the supplemental growth hormone, rBST, and this goal has been accomplished in the US.

Responsible Antibiotic Use

Subway® recognises the importance of antibiotics in human and animal medicine, and the risk of their misuse. Our approach is to encourage meat suppliers and their producers to optimise animal welfare, hygiene, husbandry and biosecurity as part of a broader animal stewardship programme and avoid the need for antibiotic treatment unless the health and welfare of an animal is compromised. Every veterinary medicine used must be approved for use by the regulatory authorities and must be administered by a qualified vet. Strict withdrawal times are applied to ensure any medicine residues do not enter the food chain. Antibiotics are never used to promote growth or used prophylactically.

Cage-Free and Free-Range Eggs

Subway® seeks to transition our entire global supply chain to egg procurement practices with improved animal welfare outcomes.

We support layer hen housing approaches with improved animal welfare outcomes and the following geographies are committed to sourcing free-range eggs by the end of 2025: North America, Latin America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea.

 

  • In Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, 100% of the eggs we purchase are either free-range or cage-free.
    • In Europe, Subway® has been sourcing free-range eggs since 2010, winning multiple “Good Egg Awards” from Compassion in World Farming (CIWF).
    • In Australia, we have been serving cage-free eggs since 2014.
  • In North America, 27% of the eggs we purchase are cage-free.

  • In Latin America, 31% of the processed eggs we purchase are cage-free. Note: Subway® removed eggs from the menu in many countries across Latin America in 2020. While this had an impact on our overall percentage of cage-free eggs purchased, it also resulted in us reducing our total egg purchases by more than 300,000 eggs in the region.

 

FAQs

SUBWAY® FAQs

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