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More Green Cities for Europe comes to Ireland

Michal Slawski, Sector Manager Horticulture

More green cities for Europe Source.PNG

Ireland has joined together with 12 other European countries in the EU co-financed 'More Green Cities for Europe’ promotional campaign. Ireland is committed to making cities more future-proof through the creation of green space and the use of ornamental plants.  This business to business campaign targets politicians, urban planners, municipalities, project developers and other professionals to explain the importance of green space in the living environment. The campaign runs until the end of 2023.

The expertise of Bord Bia in running these campaigns, with financial support from the Irish Hardy Nursery Stock Association, combined with generous co-financing by the European Union, will enable the campaign to make a substantial impact.

Bord Bia runs a sustainable assurance scheme for the amenity sector in Ireland. Consumers and retailers alike now demand produce that has been grown, handled, packaged and transported to the highest standards of quality and hygiene, in a clean and sustainable manner. The Bord Bia Sustainable Horticulture Assurance Scheme (SHAS) has been developed to provide certified members including amenity producers with a means to prove to customers that they are meeting these demands.

The amenity horticulture sector is a significant enabler in helping meeting Ireland’s climate change challenges and obligations. Locally grown plants adapt better to climate conditions and perform really well because of this, and they also have a low carbon footprint.

Conceived as a solution to mitigate the effects of climate change and increasing urbanisation, More Green Cities for Europe has the potential to maintain, if not improve, the quality of life in Ireland’s towns and cities. It is a timely, urgent and welcome initiative from the European Nursery Stock Association in conjunction with the European Commission. Bord Bia is ready to play its part in assisting the amenity sector in making Irish towns and cities better places to live and work in, through increased green planting that is grown and sold here in Ireland.

The objective of the campaign is to highlight to key decision makers the value that green landscaping brings to developments, and the role that Irish grown plants have in this regard. The activities take place are an annual conference or seminar targeting politicians, urban planners, municipalities, and project developers.

To supplement these events, the campaign has a website https://ie.thegreencities.eu/ with resources to support the activities, and a Linkedin account to spread the message in the professional sphere. The website highlights the benefits of green landscaping for climate change mitigation, to the health and wellbeing of people, to biodiversity, the economic benefits, and increased social cohesion.

Finally, there will a steady stream of PR, focusing on specialist titles important to the target audience.

The campaign was launched on the 16th of June by Minister of State Pippa Hackett with responsibility for Land Use and Biodiversity, Val Farrell, IHNSA, and Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy. They were joined in a panel discussion by Dr. Pat Daly, the Chief Executive of Limerick City & County Council, and Kevin Halpenny, the Senior Parks Superintendent at Fingal County Council.

Irish producers believe their competitive advantage lies in our ability to demonstrate the highest standards of sustainability in all its forms.  Sourcing and using Irish grown plants is a meaningful way to build on our Green reputation.  This lies at the heart of what we want to achieve through EU Green cities and is the message that we have today for policy makers, decision makers, planners, developers and landscape architects.

Aside from the obvious advantages of climate change mitigation, sourcing Irish grown plants allows buyers to see, feel and smell the plants before ordering them.

There was a wide audience that tuned into the virtual event, including public and local authorities representatives, politicians, nurseries, landscapers, architects, academics and the media.