Interview: Enda Buckley, Carbery Group

07 May 2020 | 09.14 am

Interview: Enda Buckley, Carbery Group

'Sustainability sits at the very heart of our business’

07 May 2020 | 09.14 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, we speak with Enda Buckley, Sustainability Director of Carbery Group

What is the background to your business?

Carbery Group is an international food company established in 1965 and headquartered in West Cork. It is owned by four West Cork dairy cooperatives and employs more than 700 people across nine facilities worldwide.

From West Cork, Carbery supplies cheese, nutrition and dairy ingredients to consumers across the globe, made from milk sourced from circa 1,200 local, family-owned dairy farms.

Why is sustainability important to Carbery?

As a company with a heritage rooted in farming communities, sustainability sits at the very heart of our business. Our sustainability strategy is focused on developing initiatives and targets for five key pillars: our environment, our community, our people, supply chain and the marketplace.

Why did Carbery join Origin Green?

Carbery was one of the first members to join Origin Green in 2012. Our shared vision is to help Ireland produce more food from fewer resources. As part of our membership, we have adopted a sustainability charter, which is closely aligned to our own sustainability strategy.

We have surpassed the targets set out in phase one of the Origin Green Programme, seeing significant reductions in energy usage, emissions
and water consumption. We are currently in the second phase of our sustainability plan with Origin Green and we are on track to meet all of our targets.

Can you provide some examples of your sustainability projects?

We measure water usage closely to help ensure that it is being used efficiently, being reused where appropriate, and returned back safely to the natural environment. Our ‘Every Drop Counts’ programme has led to a substantial reduction in water usage. This progress was recognised with The Green Award for ‘Sustainable Water Achievement’ in 2019.

In 2012, we launched Carbery Greener Dairy Farms™ (CGDF), a dairy efficiency programme designed to monitor and optimise resource allocation and best practice on farms. To date, there has been an average carbon footprint reduction of 15% on participating farms, placing them among the lowest in the world.

What does the future look like?

We have developed a dedicated sustainability team, who are leading our sustainability strategy. In 2020, this team won the Green Award ‘Sustainability Team of the Year’. Our goal is to achieve a fully sustainable chain of operations, along with carbon neutral status across our manufacturing sites. We are currently working with a number of partners to develop a net zero emissions dairy farm in West Cork.

We have already demonstrated a small-scale grass biorefinery on five farms. This project converts grass into four co-products, and has the potential to generate new income streams for farmers and provide clear environmental benefits.

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

 

Photo: At the Green Awards 2020 were (l-r) Martha Casey, Carbery; Louise Meehan, CPL; Orla Hurley, Carbery; and Enda Buckley, Carbery

 

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