Origin Green is Ireland’s pioneering food and drink sustainability programme, operating on a national scale, uniting government, the private sector, farmers and food producers. It is a voluntary programme, led by Bord Bia that brings together our food industry – from farmers to food producers, retailers to foodservice operators – with the common goal of sustainable food production.
This programme enables Ireland’s food industry to set and achieve measurable sustainability targets that respect the environment and serve local communities more effectively. Crucially, Origin Green is about measuring and improving how we do this on an ongoing basis. Independent accreditation and verification are built into every stage of the supply chain. Accreditation at farm-level is provided to ISO: 17065 and Carbon Trust (PAS 2050), while food and drink manufacturers are independently verified by international auditors, Mabbett.
Origin Green for Companies
Companies commit to a mandatory mix of target areas specified by the Origin Green Charters; Manufacturing, and Retail and Foodservice. The mandatory areas, from which targets are set, form the basis of a business’s 3-5 year sustainability plan. The plan is independently verified by international inspection, testing and verification specialists, Mabbett, to ensure the targets are viable and robust. Each plan is reviewed annually and monitored for progress against the set targets. Membership of the programme is confined to those setting and achieving targets. Each member must also submit a progress report annually outlining the performance against the targets established within their respective sustainability plans. This annual review is also audited by Mabbett to ensure progress is being achieved against targets set. This is carried out through a mixture of both on-site and desktop based audits.
Origin Green members establish sustainability targets in the following three target areas:
Raw Material Sourcing - minimum of 2 targets to be set in this area, which must focus on sourcing from suppliers with sustainability certifications, developing sustainability initiatives with suppliers or improving the sustainability of packaging materials.
Manufacturing Processes - minimum of 3 targets in this area with energy, waste, and water being mandatory targets for all participating companies. Emissions and biodiversity targets are also encouraged.
Social Sustainability - minimum of 2 targets in this area with health and nutrition being a mandatory target area for all participating companies. One additional target is required in this area around community initiatives, employee wellbeing or diversity and inclusion.
Stretch Target: At least one target must be designated as a ‘stretch’ target within Origin Green plans. A stretch target refers to an ambitious target that represents a significant increase over current levels of performance within a given area.
Origin Green for Farms
On-farm assessments constitute a key component of the Origin Green programme. The rollout of sustainability assessments at farm level has been made possible by Bord Bia’s pre-existing Quality Assurance infrastructure, which has been in place for over twenty years. This infrastructure sees more than 100 farm auditors undertake circa 600 independent farm audits each week. Traditionally, these assessments have focused on traceability, animal health & welfare, and general environmental issues, with an overarching focus on food safety. In 2012, these well-established schemes were expanded into Sustainable Assurance Schemes, marking the beginning of Origin Green expanding the scope and depth of sustainability measures tracked such as greenhouse gas; biodiversity; water measures; energy efficiency; soil management and socio-economic factors. Following each audit, the farmer receives notification of the results in a feedback report on the farm’s performance, with reassessments every 18 months. This allows them to make informed decisions on improving the sustainability of their farms while also improving their efficiency and farm viability.
To date, there are over 50,000 farmers in the newly launched Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme and the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme. Launched in November 2017, Sustainable Egg Quality Assurance Scheme (SEAS) already covers 97% of Irish egg production. Sustainability assurance schemes are also being developed for poultry and pigs.
Get in Touch
The Origin Green Team are available to help with your queries and provide advice and support.