Origin Green members are continuing to make progress across a range of sustainability initiatives, according to Origin Green’s Progress Update Report 2021 launched earlier today by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue.
At the virtual event, Bord Bia also announced that 50 Irish food, drink and horticulture companies had achieved gold membership status based on exemplary performance in reaching their sustainability targets. This marks a 100% increase on last year, reflecting raised ambition in the programme and sustainability from industry members.
Speaking today, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said that sustainability is at the centre of Food Vision 2030, the new ten-year strategy for the Irish agri-food sector. “The commitments in the strategy are substantial, and have the potential to be transformative. Food Vision 2030 charts a way forward for all of us in the agri-food sector to deliver on its key ambition – for Ireland to become “A World Leader in Sustainable Food Systems”. The requirement to deliver continuous improvement and proof of environmental sustainability comes from a powerful combination of changing societal and consumer demands; and the requirements of major trade customers for Irish food and drink. Of direct relevance is the strategy’s goal to strengthen and invest in Origin Green and other sustainability supports to reflect the higher level of ambition for the agri-food sector.”
“I believe that this strategy sets the agri-food sector on a new and challenging pathway, but one which also comes with great opportunity.”
Since its inception in 2012, Origin Green has grown to collaborate with 55,000 farms and over 300 leading Irish food and drink companies to prove and improve their sustainability practices to meet the evolving needs of global customers and consumers.
Origin Green Progress Update Report 2021
The Progress Update Report presents an overview of the latest developments within the Origin Green programme and highlights the significant and ongoing efforts of its members to impact positively on greener ways of farming and the adoption of more sustainable food production methods.
Key highlights from the 2021 Progress Update Report include:
- Sustainable beef and lamb assurance scheme (SBLAS) members recorded a 6.3% average reduction in CO2 per unit of beef
- Sustainable dairy assurance scheme (SDAS) members recorded a 6% average reduction in CO2 per unit of milk
- A subset of 400 SDAS members have decreased their average carbon footprint over three consecutive cycles of audits by 18%
- Manufacturing members of the programme have set a total of 2,779 sustainability targets and established 13,600 sustainability initiatives since the programme launched nine years ago
- In retail and foodservice, Origin Green’s 10 verified members represent circa 75% of the Irish retail market and have set a total of 165 sustainability targets across the areas of sustainable sourcing, operations, health and nutrition and social sustainability.
- The scale and scope of the Origin Green programme continues to produce important results, with 290,000 carbon footprints calculated to date at farm level and over 53,000 farm audits carried out remotely since last year due to Covid-19. To date this year, over 21,000 farmer feedback reports have been distributed to SBLAS and SDAS members to inform them of their farm’s specific carbon footprint, and provide targeted and practical guidance to farmers on how to manage their inputs in a more environmentally efficient way.
Speaking at the event, Tara McCarthy CEO of Bord Bia, said: “Bord Bia is delighted to share the important results and industry leading achievements outlined in the Origin Green Progress Update Report 2021, as proof and progress continue to be trademarks of our world-class, national sustainability programme. This evidence of environmental improvements compiled from our members, and verified by international auditors Mabbett, highlights that the programme’s vast scale across the Irish food and drink industry are what makes Origin Green unique and effective.
Our recent Global Sustainability Survey of over 11,000 consumers and 125 trade buyers across 13 key markets demonstrated, not only the increasing importance of sustainability, but also the growing importance of evidence and data to back up sustainability. Our members are responding to this, by setting and achieving meaningful sustainability goals in their businesses. Origin Green will continue to evolve and adapt to best support our members to drive positive and lasting change across the supply chain.”
Origin Green Gold Members 2021
As part of this programme evolution, in 2020 Origin Green introduced Gold Membership, recognising members who are performing at a high level or excelling in their sustainability performance. The number of Gold Members increased by almost 100% compared to last year, with 50 companies announced as Gold Members 2021 today.
To attain Origin Green Gold Membership a company must demonstrate exceptional annual performance in areas such as raw material sourcing; water and energy efficiency; waste reduction; packaging; and social sustainability. This year’s Origin Green Gold Members excelled most in the areas of energy, packaging and community engagement.
Deirdre Ryan, Director of Origin Green and Sustainable Assurance with Bord Bia, commented: “It gives me great pleasure to announce that 50 member companies have achieved Gold Member status this year, excelling in their sustainability targets and demonstrating industry leading ambitions and results. This increase in Gold Members reflects the value companies are setting on this higher accreditation to differentiate themselves from the competition in the marketplace; and the meaningful focus companies are now giving to their sustainability efforts in response to the urgency of climate change and the need for sustainable development.”
Accelerating Future Change
Acknowledging that Ireland’s agri-food sector needs to do more to reduce carbon emissions, Bord Bia made recent adaptations to the Origin Green programme focused on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) within the industry. Until recently, emissions reduction was optional for Origin Green members. However, with the introduction of the Origin Green credit system, larger companies are now required to establish emissions targets from the 2021 reporting year onwards. This marks a significant shift for the Origin Green programme and will see member companies go beyond reductions of energy-related emissions, to include a more comprehensive assessment of their entire carbon footprint, including value chain emissions which incorporates all indirect emissions (scope 3) associated with food manufacturing e.g. freight, travel.
This year, Bord Bia also introduced a series of guidance documents and webinars to help members set meaningful targets around some of the core issues facing the agri-food industry: Packaging Guidance, Pathways to Net Zero Guidance and Biodiversity Guidance document.
In July, Bord Bia announced a new partnership with the National Biodiversity Data Centre to support companies in identifying and implementing smart biodiversity targets in line with the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2021-2025. As part of the partnership, Bord Bia is funding a dedicated Biodiversity Officer at the National Biodiversity Data Centre to provide expertise and guidance on Origin Green member companies’ biodiversity plans.
Finally, next month, Bord Bia will host two further webinars on supporting companies on a pathway to net zero (October 22nd) and farmland biodiversity (October 27th) which will detail the importance of maintaining farmland biodiversity and the practical actions farmers can take.
Origin Green Gold Members 2021
Through independent verification, the companies below were awarded Origin Green Gold Membership in 2021:
- ABP Group
- Áine’s Handmade Chocolate
- Annalitten Foods
- Arthur Mallon Foods
- Atlantis Seafood
- Ballymaloe Foods
- Belview Eggs
- Britvic Ireland
- Carleton Cakes
- Codd Mushrooms
- Dawn Meats
- Drioglann Sliabh Liag
- Durrus Cheese
- E Flahavans
- East Coast Bakehouse
- Feldhues GmbH
- Galmere Fresh Foods
- Great Northern Distillery
- Greenhill Fruit Farm Ltd
- Grove Turkeys
- Hazelbrook Confectionery
- Irish Distillers
- Irish Fish Canners
- Island Seafoods Ltd
- Janet’s Country Fayre
- K&K Produce
- Kearney’s Home Baking
- Kepak Group
- Kerry Fish (IRL) U.C. / Quinlans Fish
- Liffey Meats
- Newgrange Gold
- Nicholas Lynch Ltd (Nick’s Fish)
- Norfish Ltd
- Oceanpath / Dunn’s of Dublin
- Oliver Carty Pork & Bacon
- O’Shea Farms
- Sam Dennigan
- Shannon Vale Foods
- Slaney Farms Produce Ltd
- Slaney Foods
- Tea & Coffee Warehouse
- The Nestbox Egg Company
- William Grant & Sons
- Wyeth Nutrition