SINGAPORE (June 3): The hen farm at Lim Chu Kang is like most others — noisy and an assault on the olfactory system. But in a corner of the farm, a number of large chicken coops can be seen from the road. Here, a fraction of the farm’s hens have relatively more space to stretch their wings and peck about. This group of lucky chickens is the limited extent of Chew’s Agriculture’s “cage-free” egg venture, but is enough to give the company the leverage it needs to expand its business, which will include growing its cage-free egg-laying hen operations.
In April, Chew’s obtained certification from US non-profit organisation Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) for its cage-free egg-laying hen houses. While the production accounts for only 10% of the farm’s total output so far, Chew’s hopes to expand the figure by 200% once it moves to its new farm. Now, the local egg supplier has help to do so.
On May 29, DBS Bank announced that it was giving Chew’s a 10-year, $27 million sustainability-linked loan. The funds will go towards building the new farm with its larger cage-free facilities. According to DBS, the loan was evaluated based on a series of environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance metrics. Under the loan terms, Chew’s will enjoy lower interest rates if it continues to meet HFAC’s standards. These include an appropriate environmental design for the farm, and caring and responsible planning and management of livestock, all of which will presumably result in more nutritious eggs.