OUR RATING PRINCIPLES ARE:
- Transparency ensured by the publication of our scoring explanations and our methodology hereunder
- Comparability: the rating is filtered by peer-group / industry and sectors, comparisons with competitors are possible
- Fairness and objectivity: the research and rating consider always two viewpoints, the rated company mainly through its audited public reports and third-party sources (e.g. NGO, non-profit organizations)
- Watchfulness of greenwashing, tailor-made narratives, boilerplate language
- Zero Harm principle (ZHP) or Do not Harm Animals principle (DNHA): is considered vegan or vegan-compliant, what does not harm directly or indirectly animals. Indirectly, implies the nature, because destroying the environment means destroying their shelters, the place where they find food and live and condemn them to extinction. That is why in addition to the animal exploitation aspect, the vegan rating takes into account harm or good done on the environment. For more information, see Scoring methodology section.
- Tolerance is applied when a company sells a general non-harmful-for-animals product or service (ex: mail application or accountancy software, HR or IT services,…) to non-vegan companies. In this case, although some of its clients are non vegan, the assessed company can be evaluated vegan-compliant. The VF methodology does not require exclusion of non-vegan customers. But it penalizes any promotion of non-vegan activities, which means that advertising companies that promote any form of animal exploitation provided by their customers will be rated vegan non-compliant.
- Absolute values and Relative values are used with thresholds as landmarks (eg. maximum amount of revenue and percentage of sales from animal exploitation) to better distinguish the borders between vegan-non compliant and neutral/ in transition state. For more information, see Scoring methodology section.
- Missing data: we apply the test of reasonable likelihood recommended by the US SEC and SASB to determine if a factor must be considered as material or not. In case of doubt and unclarified situations, we follow this principle : “be on the side of the animals and the planet, not the company”.
The VF rating methodology is based on the definition of veganism which excludes all forms of animal exploitation: “Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment” (The Vegan Society).
From this definition, we follow these stages in our analysis to score and rate companies:
- First, deeply understand the company’s business and business lines, and avoid the bias of any preconceived ideas.
- Consider if there is any direct exploitation of animals in each business line and subsidiary of the company
- If no direct exploitation, consider if there is any form of indirect harmful action against animals for which the company is partially, mainly or fully responsible. It can be indirectly in the supply chain, or by any sponsorship harmful to animals as sponsoring hunting clubs or circus.
- If no direct exploitation, consider the company’s environmental performance. Typically, we consider the following metrics: Greenhouse gas emission, water consumption, hazardous and non-hazardous waste rejected and recycled
- Consider if there is any controversy on animals and environment. Here third-party sources are particularly useful.
- The final rating takes into account the harmful and beneficial dimensions. The beneficial dimension is nonetheless capped by any kind of animal exploitation. The final rating is finally based on the scoring methodology , which aim is to clearly differentiate each stage of evolution through test-conditions, and to make every company progress towards a totally animal-friendly / vegan business.
In spite of our effort to make the mostly accurate and fair rating, some omission, mistake or improvements are always possible. We invite our dear readers to contact us in order to communicate your comments at the contact us page.