Bord Bia has this morning launched a national programme designed to help Ireland become a world leader in sustainably produced food and drink.
Origin Green is a voluntary programme whereby participating food manufacturers commit to developing a sustainability plan, in conjunction with Bord Bia. Interested parties will sign up to a new sustainability charter setting out clear targets in areas like emissions, energy, waste, water, biodiversity and CSR activities.
Once approved, successful members will be entitled to use the Origin Green logo as part of their trade marketing, communications, and customer relations. Each year, participants will be required to submit independently verified progress reports.
In turn, Bord Bia said it would promote, communicate and develop trade awareness of the Origin Green programme among buyers, international media and relevant stakeholders in key export markets.
“Retailers are looking for suppliers that can align with their commercial strategies and offer them a point of difference,” said Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Bord Bia. “Our research has highlighted the significant opportunities that exist if the Irish food and drink sector can demonstrate its commitment to delivering continuous improvement.
“With Origin Green, we can effectively begin to add proof and assurance to our sustainability claims, and provide the evidence that our export customers are looking for.”
“The development of a sustainability programme to build Ireland’s brand reputation around green credentials is one of the four key strategic priorities for Bord Bia over the next three years,” said Bord Bia’s chairman, Michael Carey. “Also we will be focusing on enhancing competitiveness; promoting exports and building a vibrant domestic market for the agri-food sector.”
As part of a pilot programme, Bord Bia is currently working with nine Irish food and drink companies – Kerry Group, Glanbia (Dairy Ingredients Ireland), Marine Harvest, Country Crest, Dawn Farm Foods, Flahavans, Irish Distillers, ABP and Errigal Seafoods.
Bord Bia said its objective is that 75pc of Irish food and drink exports will be sourced from signed up members to the programme before the end of 2014, and 100pc by the end of 2016.
The programme was launched at Bord Bia’s Pathways for Growth Food and Drink Leadership Summit, which is taking place in UCD Michael Smurfit School of Business.
The vision of Origin Green was introduced to the delegates in an audio-visual presentation setting sustainability in an Irish context and fronted by Irish actress Saoirse Ronan.
Bord Bia said it commissioned extensive trade research with leading retailers, food manufacturers and foodservice organizations, including M&S, Sainburys, Unilever, McDonald’s and Subway, to support the development of ‘Origin Green.’
“The research, currently being undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), has shown that sustainability is now more deeply engrained in retailers’ commercial strategies than ever before and increasingly they see sustainability criteria as becoming a critical requirement of suppliers looking to do business. They view sustainability as helping them boost the efficiency of their supply chain while also driving brand reputation and securing supplies over the longer term.”
This, along with the APB Food Group’s completion of a 50 million euro upgrade of their Cahir facility.