Wicklow firm awarded Gold Standard for Sustainability

Janet’s Country Fayre in Kilcoole has been awarded Origin Green Gold Membership following extensive auditing across a range of sustainability initiatives, at a ceremony held by Bord Bia and Origin Green.

Origin Green introduced Gold Membership in 2020, recognising members who are performing at a high level or excelling in their sustainability performance.  The new scheme has driven Irish businesses to further increase their focus on sustainability issues.

To attain Origin Green Gold Membership a company must demonstrate exceptional annual performance in areas such as raw material sourcing; water and energy efficiency; waste reduction; packaging; and social sustainability. This year’s Origin Green Gold Members excelled most in the areas of energy, packaging and community engagement.

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Deirdre Ryan, Director of Origin Green and Sustainable Assurance with Bord Bia, commented: “It gives me great pleasure to announce that one business from county Wicklow has achieved Gold Member status this year. This achievement reflects that hard work of their team.  As we look to address the urgency of climate change and the need for sustainable development, it is excellent to see companies like this, showing leadership. 

At the event, Origin Green launched their Progress Update Report 2021, which demonstrated progress on a range of sustainability actions. 

The Progress Update Report presents an overview of the latest developments within the Origin Green programme and highlights the significant and ongoing efforts of its members to impact positively on greener ways of farming and the adoption of more sustainable food production methods.

Key highlights from the 2021 Progress Update Report include:

  • Sustainable beef and lamb assurance scheme (SBLAS) members recorded a 6.3% average reduction in CO2 per unit of beef
  • Sustainable dairy assurance scheme (SDAS) members recorded a 6% average reduction in CO2 per unit of milk
  • A subset of 400 SDAS members have decreased their average carbon footprint over three consecutive cycles of audits by 18%
  • Manufacturing members of the programme have set a total of 2,779 sustainability targets and established 13,600 sustainability initiatives since the programme launched nine years ago
  • In retail and foodservice, Origin Green’s 10 verified members represent circa 75% of the Irish retail market and have set a total of 165 sustainability targets across the areas of sustainable sourcing, operations, health and nutrition and social sustainability.
  • The scale and scope of the Origin Green programme continues to produce important results, with 290,000 carbon footprints calculated to date at farm level and over 53,000 farm audits carried out remotely since last year due to Covid-19. To date this year, over 21,000 farmer feedback reports have been distributed to SBLAS and SDAS members to inform them of their farm’s specific carbon footprint, and provide targeted and practical guidance to farmers on how to manage their inputs in a more environmentally efficient way. 

Speaking at the event, Tara McCarthy CEO of Bord Bia, said: “Bord Bia is delighted to share the important results and industry leading achievements outlined in the Origin Green Progress Update Report 2021, as proof and progress continue to be trademarks of our world-class, national sustainability programme. This evidence of environmental improvements compiled from our members, and verified by international auditors Mabbett, highlights that the programme’s vast scale across the Irish food and drink industry are what makes Origin Green unique and effective.

Our recent Global Sustainability Survey of over 11,000 consumers and 125 trade buyers across 13 key markets demonstrated, not only the increasing importance of sustainability, but also the growing importance of evidence and data to back up sustainability. Our members are responding to this, by setting and achieving meaningful sustainability goals in their businesses. Origin Green will continue to evolve and adapt to best support our members to drive positive and lasting change across the supply chain.”

Speaking today, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said that sustainability is at the centre of Food Vision 2030, the new ten-year strategy for the Irish agri-food sector. “The commitments in the strategy are substantial, and have the potential to be transformative. Food Vision 2030 charts a way forward for all of us in the agri-food sector to deliver on its key ambition – for Ireland to become “A World Leader in Sustainable Food Systems”. The requirement to deliver continuous improvement and proof of environmental sustainability comes from a powerful combination of changing societal and consumer demands; and the requirements of major trade customers for Irish food and drink. Of direct relevance is the strategy’s goal to strengthen and invest in Origin Green and other sustainability supports to reflect the higher level of ambition for the agri-food sector.”

“I believe that this strategy sets the agri-food sector on a new and challenging pathway, but one which also comes with great opportunity.”

Since its inception in 2012, Origin Green has grown to collaborate with 55,000 farms and over 300 leading Irish food and drink companies to prove and improve their sustainability practices to meet the evolving needs of global customers and consumers.

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