Ireland is the only country in the world in a position to offer an independently verified national sustainability commitment to its customers, according to Bord Bia CEO Aidan Cotter.

Speaking at SIAL in Paris, Aidan said that 362 food and drink manufacturers, accounting for more than 85% of our exports, have signed up to Origin Green since it was introduced in 2012. Some 233 are at workshop and plan development phase, 129 plans have been submitted, and 70 companies, accounting for 70% of exports, have had their plans accepted and become full members, he said.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney was on hand at the food trade show in Paris to explain the Origin Green concept to international media and outlined its progress.

The Bord Bia CEO added that at farm level more than 25,000 audits and assessments have been conducted under the programme to date this year.

“Some 43,500 beef farms, accounting for 90% of beef production, are full members of Origin Green, audited and carbon-footprinted on an 18-month cycle.

“Details of just under 18,000 dairy enterprises, accounting for virtually all dairy farms in the country, have been submitted to Bord Bia by 25 dairy cooperatives, they are deemed ‘participants’ in the newly launched Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS) and are in the course of undergoing their first audit cycle. Similar cycles are underway, or getting underway, in other primary production sectors.

“Since we launched it internationally, at SIAL in Paris in 2012, the Origin Green message and branding has dominated our collective, national presence at 32 international trade fairs, attracting 1.7 million buyers from all around the world.”