Origin Green could be labelled ‘fake news’ – Green Party chief

Origin Green – Ireland’s food and drink sustainability programme – is in danger of being labelled “fake news” by our competitors, warned Green Party leader Eamon Ryan.

The Dublin Bay South TD was just one of a number of politicians invited to speak at a consultative conference on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which was held in Newbridge, Co. Kildare, yesterday (Wednesday, July 4).

Addressing a range of stakeholders from across the agricultural sector, deputy Ryan highlighted the role he believes the CAP should play in relation to the environment and climate change mitigation.

He referenced a study carried out by the Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, which revealed that Ireland is currently the second worst member state in its achievement of climate goals – with Poland being singled out as the worst.

If Ireland continues to fail to meet its targets in relation to the environment and climate change, then questions will begin to be asked of Origin Green – a programme which champions sustainable food production, the Green Party leader said.

‘Fake news, fake story, fake brand’

“A fight between environmentalism and farming is not going to be good for either side. We’ve got to work hard and I think this CAP reform is a perfect opportunity to change the story – to change the understanding of where we need to go.

We are trading under an Origin Green brand; but we’re not going to be able to trade under Origin Green with the way we’re going.

“At some point, not in the distant future, our competitors are going to go to someone like Green Peace and say: ‘That Irish butter is not very green. They are the second worst in Europe on climate [action].’

“And we’re out there trading under an Origin Green brand, then people will say: ‘Fake news, fake story, fake brand.’

We have to avoid that at all costs. Because I think there’s a better price, there’s a better future for farming, by trading under a real and genuine Origin Green logo.

“That has got to be matched by reality. We have got to change the entire – in my mind – Food Wise plan,” he added.

‘A level of ignorance’

Speaking to AgriLand during yesterday’s conference, both Origin Green and the targets set out as part of the Food Wise 2025 plan were defended by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

“Well I think there is, to be fair, a level of ignorance about Origin Green – which is unfortunate.

I mean it is internationally audited; it’s not fake news.

On the topic of Food Wise 2025, Minister Creed challenged someone to show him a single recommendation under the plan which should be abandoned.

Continuing, he said: “Let’s deal with what are the impediments – and this is what Food Wise seeks to do across five pillars; what are the impediments that are holding us back in achieving our potential and bear in mind that the five pillars include sustainability.

“So we need to make sure that we fire-proof everything we do from the point of view of sustainability; that’s a critical pillar in Food Wise and therein show me a single recommendation in Food Wise that we should walk away from.

“I don’t think there is one. If we can prove our production from a sustainability point of view and reduce our carbon footprint consequently, then we should be free to exploit the potential that we naturally have in terms of a grass-based production system,” the minister concluded.