Alimentation Couche-Tard is expanding its pledge to sell cage-free eggs to its internationally franchised Circle K stores. The company plans to transition its community of more than 2,000 international stores to cage-free eggs by 2025.
In 2019, the company announced plans to transition to cage-free eggs in its corporate stores by 2025. Since making the pledge, the company says it's well on its way to fulfilling its commitment at all of its corporate locations, which make up more than two-thirds of the company’s locations.
“Nowhere does our value of Doing the Right Thing come to life more than on our sustainability journey. We are constantly looking at ways we can do more and do better for our people, our customers, our planet and our prosperity,” says Helena Winberg, director of global sustainability for Couche-Tard.
Since Alimentation Couche-Tard acquired Circle K in 2003, the company has expanded the c-stores to more than 24 countries and territories. International franchisees source the eggs sold in their stores from within their regions.
According to Couche-Tard, access to reputable and sustainable cage-free egg suppliers has been challenging for franchisees in some regions until recently. With the improvement of supply chains and adoption of cage-free egg production in North America and internationally, the company expects to build momentum to reach its goal in the coming years.
Couche-Tard is now working with Lever Foundation – a global non-profit that helps companies source a more humane, safe and sustainable supply chain – to help franchisees find cage-free eggs. As a foundation, Lever’s focus is on cage-free eggs and the organization has experience in providing expert advice, materials and resources to help egg producers make the switch toward cage-free egg production. Lever Foundation is helping connect Circle K franchisees to suppliers.
“We are proud to engage our global franchise community on our commitment to selling cage-free eggs in our stores and grateful for the support of Lever Foundation in our efforts,” adds Winberg.
Couche-Tard’s commitment to cage-free eggs is part of the company’s sustainability efforts. The company began sharing annual sustainability reports in 2019 that outline its progress in five focus areas: fuel, energy, packaging and waste, workplace safety and diversity and inclusion.
Beyond eggs, the company is also working with suppliers to source meat and poultry-based foods from breeders and processing plants that care for and protect animals from needless pain and suffering, outlined in its fourth annual Sustainability Report, published in June 2022. Last year, Estonia became Couche-Tard’s first business unit in Europe to use cage-free eggs in all food products.
Couche-Tard is the company's flagship brand of c-stores in the province of Quēbec, where it was founded more than 40 years ago. The company now has more than 650 locations in the province, as well as multiple franchised Circle K locations globally.
Lever Foundation is based in the U.S., with a team based primarily in Asia and staff in Europe and the Americas. The charity publishes reports and develops programs, non-profits and financial instruments to help companies find alternative protein sourcing for more sustainable supply chains.