Origin Green is Ireland’s food and drink sustainability programme. A Bord Bia initiative, the programme brings together Ireland’s food and drink industry with one common goal; sustainable food production. From farmers to food producers, retailers to foodservice operators, it is a voluntary sustainability programme spanning all levels of the supply chain.
Farmers become Origin Green members by participating in the Sustainable Assurance Schemes, while manufacturers, retailers and foodservice operators must develop a plan in accordance with the Origin Green Sustainability Charters.
Each sustainability plan is independently verified by SGS who are an international inspection, testing, and verification organisation. Independent verification ensures the targets set out are both viable and robust. A member’s sustainability plan commits to a mandatory mix of target areas including raw materials sourcing, manufacturing processes, and social sustainability. These are the pillars of the Origin Green Manufacturing Sustainability Charter.
The mandatory mix of areas include:
- Raw material sourcing (minimum 1 target in this area)
- Manufacturing processes and operations (such as energy, water, waste, emissions and biodiversity (minimum 3 targets in this area)
- Social sustainability, including health and nutrition; community initiatives; and employee wellbeing (minimum 2 targets in this area)
In 2012, 8 founding member businesses signed up to Origin Green. Today, there are over 270 members, representing 90% of total Irish exports. A further 281 companies are preparing plans for verification. They range in size from sole operators to large multi-national organisations.
Bord Bia will continue to engage with all food businesses to inform and assist them to become fully verified Origin Green members.When it comes to setting targets, a one-size-fits-all approach is not adopted because no two businesses are identical. Targets that are specific and demanding to each business are set.
The scale and diversity of the Origin Green member base allows for significant quantifiable change on a national scale. The credibility of the process is underpinned by independent verification and is rooted in science and best practice.
The programme expanded in 2016 to include retail and food service members, of which there are now 6 pilot companies on board.
Collectively, Origin Green members committed to more than 1,600 ambitious sustainability targets in 2016. The practical impact of Origin Green’s business membership means that results of commitments made to date will bring about:
- A waste reduction equivalent to 50,000 wheelie bins in just three years.
- An energy reduction equivalent to taking over 4,000 cars off the road.
- Saving enough water to fill 660 Olympic sized swimming pools by the end of 2017.