We source products from 1,500 suppliers in over 35 countries around the world who share our commitment to ethical business conduct; fair labor practices; proven environmental, health and safety practices; animal welfare; and sustainability.
Supplier Code of Conduct
Darden maintains a Supplier Code of Conduct, which outlines our expectations in areas such as ethical business practices; anti-corruption; human rights and labor laws; environmental, health and safety practices; and legal compliance. Our Supplier Code was developed in 2013 and, during 2014, we rolled it out to an initial target group of suppliers based on risk assessment, volume of spend and geographic location. By the end of 2014, 100% of the suppliers in the initial group had provided affirmation that they read and understood the Code and agreed to adhere to its provisions. In addition, our suppliers are audited to ensure they are meeting our high expectations.
In 2015, we continued rolling out the Code to other key suppliers. View our complete Supplier Code of Conduct here.
Darden takes animal welfare very seriously. We have a responsibility to ensure that animals are treated with respect and care in the process of providing nutritious food that is served in our restaurants. Our approach to animal welfare and auditing our suppliers is to ultimately ensure the 'Five Freedoms' of care throughout the life of farm animals.
- Freedom from hunger and thirst
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury or disease
- Freedom to express normal behavior
- Freedom from fear and distress
We also work with suppliers who are leading the industry in the care of farm animals. Two examples include our egg and pork suppliers. Darden has made a commitment to source 100% of all egg products from cage-free housing systems by 2018. We've also made a commitment to work toward a goal of having all pork porducts purchased by Darden be gestation-crate free by the end of 2025.
We have a long-established program requiring animal welfare certification by third-party auditors from all land-based protein suppliers. This guidance on humane animal treatment directs our practices as well as our selection of, and relationship with, sourcing partners.
Darden supports the FDA guidelines which recommend that by the end of 2016, antibiotics that are medically important in human medicine be phased out from use with farm animals for growth purposes, and shared-class antibiotics (i.e., those used for both humans and animals) only be used for the treatment of disease in farm animals under the supervision of a veterinarian. All of our land-based protein supply will meet these guidelines by December 2016.
Beef & Sustainability
As part of our land-based protein stewardship efforts, we are also focused on the issue of beef and sustainability. Beef comprises one of the largest portions of our food basket, with more than 90% of Darden’s beef coming from the United States and the remaining supply from Australia.
We believe that advancing sustainability in the beef industry is essential for all stakeholders in the beef value chain and, while Darden is and will remain a relatively small buyer within the total beef market, we are nonetheless committed to helping find solutions that reduce the environmental impacts of beef production and support the livelihoods of beef producers. To this end, Darden is partnering with the U.S. Roundtable on Sustainable Beef, the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, and our suppliers to support research, identify best practices, and promote improved practices.