Yesterday, 4 August 2016, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved the new environmental and social policies. For the first time, these include animal welfare criteria to be assessed during project appraisals. A signal that invites states and the private sector to pay more attention to the welfare of animals.

For about 4 years, Shifting Values has been working for Humane Society International’s campaign to incorporate animal welfare in allocation policies of international finance institutions (IFIs) and export credit agencies. These are institutions that use public monies and also take on a steering role for political and economic development.

The new Safeguard Policies, approved by World Bank shareholders after more than two years of revision work, for the first time include binding minimum standards for farm animals. The Safeguards are among the most significant rules for the allocation of investment capital and trend-setting also for other IFIs.

After the EBRD made compliance with EU farm animal regulations binding for the Bank’s projects in autumn 2014 and animal welfare also made its way into the OECD’s guidelines for export credit guarantees in spring 2016, the World Bank’s decision is another international milestone of Humane Society International’s initiative and a strong signal to end at least the most extreme forms of farm animal confinement.