Bord Bia unveils ‘tool’ to identify how businesses will be impacted by looming Brexit

Bord Bia unveiled its new interactive analytical tool to help businesses identify how they will be impacted by Brexit at a seminar this morning.

The ‘Brexit Barometer’ tool, which was developed by Bord Bia in conjunction with PwC Ireland, was launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

The Brexit Barometer includes 100 questions across six specific risk areas.

These risk areas include routes to market, customs and tax, supply chain, trade, currency and human resources, according to Bord Bia.

This new tool will play an integral part in Bord Bia’s upcoming ‘Brexit Roadshow’; a team of Bord Bia food, drink and horticulture specialists are set to visit more than 150 Irish exporters nationwide in the coming weeks.

Bord Bia believes this is a very timely initiative following the UK Prime Minister’s decision to trigger Article 50 on March 29.

As part of the ‘Brexit Roadshow’, 14 Bord Bia sector managers will travel across the country to conduct face-to-face in-depth analyses of the likely impact of Brexit on individual businesses.

The new Brexit Barometer tool is set to be used at each consultation to help companies identify and assess their unique Brexit requirements, risks and opportunities.

Bord Bia, Tara McCarthy
Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia

With the support of an onsite Bord Bia specialist, the senior management team of each participating company will be requested to come together as a group to collectively discuss each of the risk areas and potential scenarios.

As a company progresses through the Barometer, traffic light system feedback will be given at each stage, according to Bord Bia.

The colour red will represent the highest risks, vulnerability and areas that need to be addressed, it added.

While Bord Bia expects the industry will be keen to engage, the organisation is initially targeting companies with the highest dependency on the UK market.

In 2016, Ireland exported €4.1 billion worth of food, drink and horticulture products to the UK market, representing 37% of our total exports, Bord Bia said.

In particular, 54% of Irish meat and livestock exports as well as 90% of horticultural and cereal exports are destined for the UK, it added.

‘Challenging times ahead’

Minister Creed encouraged all food exporters to engage with the new Bord Bia initiative, especially with the triggering of Article 50 in sight.

Since the Brexit referendum my Department has provided Bord Bia with €3.6m in additional funding to develop new innovative proposals such as the ‘Brexit Barometer’.

There is a continued focus on delivering support to the industry; helping it to defend its position in the UK and Europe, Minister Creed said.

These traditional markets still account for 65 to 70% of all Irish exports. But work is being carried out to diversify into new international markets that offer huge growth potential, he added.

“Undoubtedly there are challenging times ahead in the UK but there is resilience in the relationships that our food producers have with retailers and buyers,” he said.

The creation of a Brexit Barometer tool was necessary as Brexit will affect every sector and every company in a different way, the Chief Executive of Bord Bia, Tara McCarthy, said.

“Detailed feedback from our pilot Brexit Baromoter programme, combined with extensive ongoing dialogue with our client companies, has provided Bord Bia with a unique insight into the industry’s concerns.

It is with this insight in mind that we developed this tool to urge exporters to conduct a comprehensive cross-functional analysis of all potential scenarios.

“The impacts of Brexit will reach into almost every aspect of our food, drink and horticulture businesses and we are aware there is no one solution that fits all, and it is not the responsibility of any one person or department.

“To help futureproof a business, it is critical for companies to discuss exactly how each risk or challenge will impact the various divisions from finance and distribution to human resources and innovation,” she said.

Bord Bia also believes that the data it will collect through the initiative will be central to its Brexit strategy going forward.