Interview: Deirdre Ryan, Bord Bia

04 Aug 2020 | 09.00 am

Interview: Deirdre Ryan, Bord Bia

‘Origin Green continues to drive the sustainability agenda’

04 Aug 2020 | 09.00 am

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Origin Green is Ireland’s national food sustainability programme. It is a voluntary programme led by Bord Bia that brings together farmers, food producers, retailers and food service operators with the common goal of sustainable food production. This month, Bord Bia’s Deirdre Ryan (pictured), Director of Origin Green and Quality Assurance, updates us on the programme’s progress to date.

Since the launch of Origin Green in 2012, the Irish food industry has made important progress in driving sustainable production and building on our global reputation for sustainably produced food and drink. I have been struck, since joining Origin Green as director earlier this year, by the level and implication of that impressive progress.

For example, it equates to an average 9% reduction in CO2 per unit of milk produced on farms that joined the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme in 2014, and an average 5% reduction in CO2 emissions per unit of beef produced on farms that joined the Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme in 2014.

In a five-year period, food manufacturers delivered an 11% reduction in energy use per unit of output and a 17% reduction in water use per unit of output. They donated 4,717 tonnes of surplus food to FoodCloud, planted 9,261 trees on manufacturing sites and donated over €8m to community and charity organisations.

Sustainability Plans

Eleven of the largest foodservice companies and retailers in Ireland are Origin Green verified members. Four of the five biggest retailers, representing 75% of Irish retail, are on board to drive their sustainability agenda forward as part of the Origin Green Retail & Foodservice Charter. These companies have developed five-year sustainability action plans, including 212 sustainability targets that will be reviewed annually.

The achievements are the result of the hard work and commitment of the 53,000 farmers, 320 manufacturing companies and major retail/foodservice members of Origin Green. I invite you to view the Origin Green Progress Report on origingreen.ie, which offers real proof points of the Irish food and drink industry’s commitment to sustainability through carbon reductions on farms and more sustainable manufacturing processes across Ireland’s food and drink sector. Visit: www.origingreen.com/en/news-and-updates/reports/.

Turning to the present and looking to the future, this has been a really busy period for Origin Green. We have redeveloped our website to better serve and showcase our members, refreshed the Origin Green logo and member materials, and have introduced important changes to the Origin Green Charter.

Accelerating Change

These changes help ensure that Origin Green continues to drive and monitor the sustainability agenda throughout the Irish food industry in a compelling way. As a country, we export 90% of what we farm and produce, and last year that reached a record €13bn. For this very reason, it matters what the world thinks about Irish food and drink. Our ambition now is to accelerate the pace of the change we have already achieved as we meet the needs of the future by doubling down on our commitment to measurable sustainability commitments today.

To find out more about the Origin Green programme, visit origingreen.ie

 

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