2014 is set to be the year of sustainability for Ireland’s farming sector. New pig meat and poultry sustainability schemes, similar to the current dairy and beef schemes, are at an advanced stage.
And additional lamb, grain and horticulture schemes are under way. This is according to Bord Bia’s Padraig Brennan, who spoke at its Small Business Open Day this week.
The aim is to have programmes for all primary sectors by the end of 2014, he said in his presentation.
Some 299 companies have registered with Bord Bia’s Origin Green programme, 87 companies have plans submitted and its has 37 verified members. This accounts for almost 60 per cent of exports and the target is to reach 75 per cent by the end of 2014, he explained.
In terms of what Origin Green requires of companies, he outlined the criteria. The development of a sustainability plan is key, with an annual progress reports and independent verification.
With target areas, he said raw material sourcing from certified sustainability suppliers was key. In manufacturing processes, he said the focus was on energy, emissions, waste, water and biodiversity. He also stressed social sustainability, in that health and nutrition, community initiatives and employee well-being were also other aspects.
In terms of the process for companies after registration, Brennan said it included planning workshops, developing plans, reviews, and formal approval.
Genuine commitment, engagement of all employees and ongoing measurements are key elements, he added. A successful Origin Green plan requires a team effort, he stressed, adding that Bord Bia assistance is available every step of the way, including a free resource efficiency audit that will focus on energy, waste and water.
At its fourth annual Small Business Open Day this week, Bord Bia launched its new ‘Guide to Retail for Small Food Producers’, a practical tool for small food businesses. The guide was shared with more than 170 small food businesses gathered in Dublin, where companies received information on a range of programmes and facilities available to them.
Pictured at the Open Day were Hannah O’ Reilly and Elaine Lavery both from Improper Butter, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, and Bord Bia ceo Aidan Cotter/Credit Gary O’ Neill