Bord Bia has appointed Deirdre Ryan to the role of director of the Origin Green and Quality Assurance programmes.

The incoming director is described as having “extensive experience in the food industry with a strong track record of driving impact through embedding sustainability into business strategy”.

Prior to her appointment, Deirdre was head of corporate social responsibility for Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland, where she led the development and implementation of Ireland and Northern Ireland’s sustainability strategy.

From 2013 to 2015, as part of Bord Bia’s Origin Green Ambassador programme, Deirdre was responsible for building trade awareness globally for the sustainability credentials of Irish food and drink producers.

Deirdre has also held positions with leading dairy exporter Ornua, Nestle Switzerland, and Metro Group, the world’s fourth largest retail group.

In her new role as director of Origin Green at Bord Bia, Deirdre will continue to drive the Origin Green ambition; that farms and food manufacturing businesses throughout Ireland sign up to an ambitious sustainability agenda, with progress independently measured, assessed and verified, Bord Bia says.

Deirdre Ryan, director of Bord Bia’s Origin Green. Image source: Iain White, Fennell Photography

According to the Irish food board, Origin Green plays a crucial role in driving continuous improvement across Ireland’s food and drink sector, with significant reductions achieved to date in carbon emissions on farm and in energy and water use in processing and manufacturing.

The ultimate aim of the programme is to safeguard Ireland’s global reputation and competitive advantage as a producer of quality sustainable food.

Deirdre holds an MSc in Business Sustainability, an MBS in International Business from UCD Smurfit Graduate School, and a degree in International Commerce with Italian from University College Dublin.

She is also an Irish Olympian; she competed in the high jump at the London 2012 Olympics.

Announcing her appointment, Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia, said: “As the only programme of its kind in the world, working across the supply chain to enable the Irish food and drink industry to develop their sustainability credentials and provide the proof that customers seek, Origin Green’s role is pivotal.

“Deirdre will lead the Origin Green programme towards driving further sustainability improvements in our food production in line with our three-year strategy 2019-2021 by collaborating with the 51,000 farmers and over 320 food manufacturers, foodservice operators and retailers in Ireland that are verified members of Origin Green.

Deirdre and her team will be focused on ensuring that Irish food and drink is the first choice globally because it is trusted as sustainably produced, to the highest standards, by people who care.

Commenting on her appointment, Deirdre said:

“I very much look forward to building on the progress achieved to date by engaging with members of Origin Green to drive further sustainability improvements and in turn realise the benefits of Origin Green; more environmentally efficient farms, sustainable livelihoods and more sustainable food and drink production that protects the global positioning of our food exports as the first choice globally due to our commitment to sustainable production and quality.”