Sodexo Inc., an integrated food and facilities management firm serving North America, announced today that it will work with pork suppliers to phase out gestation-sow stalls from its supply chain by 2022.

The company made the announcement in a joint press release with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Self proclaimed “leading provider of Quality of Daily Life Solutions” in the United States, Canada and Mexico, Sodexo works with senior living centers, universities and a variety of schools, corporations, government and military entities, conference centers and leisure and entertainment venues. Headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., Sodexo, reports it serves 10 million consumers daily in 6,000 locations, based on August 2011 numbers.

"We source products that meet stringent requirements for a wide range of factors, including value, nutrition, safety, quality, environmental impact, and animal welfare," said Deborah Hecker, vice president of sustainability and CSR for Sodexo. "Today we are taking a big step forward in meeting client needs, consumer interests, and improving animal welfare by asking all of our pork suppliers for clear plans to remove gestation stalls from the production process by 2022."

According to the announcement, Sodexo has initiated a review process and is asking its primary pork suppliers for its North American operations to outline plans for eliminating gestation stalls from any company-owned farms as well as any contracted pork operations. Sodexo wants “actionable plans by 2017, detailing how they plan to achieve” stall-free sow housing.

Jim Pazzanese, vice president of supply management for Sodexo, explained, "Starting today, all future RFPs for pork and products containing pork will include requirements to demonstrate that gestation stalls will be phased out of the supply chain by 2022."

Sodexo says it emphasizes sustainability in its food decisions. It recently amended its Supplier Code of Conduct policy to specifically reinforce that it prioritizes suppliers who are leaders in with regard to animal welfare and environmental practices.

“Creating a more sustainable supply chain that includes best practices in animal welfare is extremely complex for any business where the strategic sourcing priority is to serve specific client needs. It is further complicated by the fact that Sodexo is not directly involved in the care, management or processing of farm animals,” said Pazzanese. “Despite these challenges, Sodexo recognizes animal welfare as an important component for a sustainable supply chain and we're committed to educating clients and stakeholders on our sourcing process and promoting the phase out of gestation stalls in our North American operations as a way to deliver on current client needs and consumer interest."

Worldwide, Sodexo has 33,400 sites in 80 countries and serves 50 million consumers daily. It is the 22nd largest global employer.  In the United States, the company employs 125,000 workers and generates $8 billion in annual revenue.