Hit enter to search or ESC to close

Origin Green educating members on best practice farmland biodiversity

Date: 25/10/2021

Origin Green educating members on best practice farmland biodiversity

  • 68% of trade buyers globally say “protecting and preserving biodiversity in nature” is important when choosing a supplier
  • Bord Bia unveil new online training course on farmland biodiversity for farmer members

Origin Green, in conjunction with the National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC), is continuing to provide targeted supports for business and farmer members to develop sustainable biodiversity practices, as the issue of biodiversity becomes increasingly important for food security and global trade buyers. The Origin Green programme today hosted a webinar which focused on how the NBDC and Bord Bia are seeking to improve farmland biodiversity, providing Origin Green members with an overview of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) project 'Protecting Farmland Pollinators', to inform and strengthen their biodiversity plans. Bord Bia also unveiled a new online training course on biodiversity for Origin Green farm members.

Origin Green verified members are encouraged to include at least one biodiversity target in their sustainability plans. According to the latest Origin Green Progress Update Report, to date Origin Green business members have committed to over 105 biodiversity targets and over 500 initiatives, and the number of member companies setting biodiversity targets has been increasingly steadily since 2017. The majority were focused on biodiversity enhancements, while a smaller number of targets were related to invasive species control and general biodiversity initiatives.

Biodiversity provides a variety of benefits including production of food and water, maintenance of soil fertility, control of climate and disease, nutrient cycling, and crop pollination. It is also an increasingly important priority for sustainability agenda-setters, as Bord Bia’s Global Sustainability Study  found that 68% of trade buyers globally say “protecting and preserving biodiversity in nature” is important when choosing a supplier. While it is not yet an issue that is directly influencing consumers’ purchasing behaviour, it is the topic they most associate with sustainability and offers businesses an opportunity to standout with more engaged shoppers. 

At today’s webinar, the second of three 'Pathways to Biodiversity' webinars, Dr Úna Fitzpatrick, Senior Ecologist at National Biodiversity Data Centre provided an overview of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan and the European Innovation Partnership Project ‘Protecting Farmland Pollinators’, which is developing and testing a whole-farm pollinator scoring system to identity what management practies on Irish farms benefit pollinators. Rory Mannion, Agri-Sustainability Specialist in Bord Bia introduced the new online training course on biodiversity for farm scheme members, which details the importance of maintaining farmland biodiversity and the practical actions farmers can take. This is one of four modules available to farmer members on the Farm Sustainability Learning Hub. He also provided an update on Bord Bia’s collaboration with the Farming with Nature initiative, led by the team behind the BRIDE project, which is being developed as an holistic farmer-led biodiversity brand.

Speaking at the event, Director of Origin Green Deirdre Ryan commented: “Biodiversity is a crucial issue element of food security and protecting farmland biodiversity is an important priority of the Origin Green programme. Bord Bia’s recent Global Sustainability Study  found that 68% of trade buyers globally say “protecting and preserving biodiversity in nature” is important when choosing a supplier, and we were delighted to report in the latest Origin Green Progress Update Report that, to date, Origin Green business members have committed to over 105 biodiversity targets and over 500 initiatives. I’d like to thank the speakers today for providing an overview of the European Innovation Partnership Project ‘Protecting Farmland Pollinators’, and the new Bord Bia online training course on Biodiversity for Origin Green farm members, as Origin Green continues to strive to support our members to develop sustainable biodiversity business plans and impact positively on biodiversity at farm level.”

Úna FitzPatrick, Senior Ecologist at National Biodiversity Data Centre, added; “The ‘Protecting Farmland Pollinators’ project, aims to develop a flexible mechanism that encourages all farmers to make their farm more pollinator friendly in a way that will not impact on productivity. Biodiversity is complex, but taking small actions to preserve farmland pollinators is an effective way of protecting the environment. Through pursuing evidence-based actions to protect pollinators and enhance farmland biodiversity, Origin Green members can continue to impact positively on the environment and their communities.”

In July this year, 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 are funding a dedicated Biodiversity Officer at the National Biodiversity Data Centre to provide expertise and guidance on Origin Green member companies' biodiversity plans.