A new report from the Irish food board, Bord Bia, found that 220 leaders in the Irish food, drink, and horticulture sector doubled their sustainability targets from 2015, for a total of 1,600 in 2016.
These goals have been set in areas such as raw-material sourcing, energy consumption and emissions, and social sustainability.
These companies, which amount to 90% of total exports, have established these targets as part of Bord Bia's Origin Green sustainability programme, launched four and a half years ago.
The programme is a national sustainability strategy for the food and drink sector, and an essential part of the government's FoodWise 2025 plan, which sets out a 'cohesive, strategic plan for the development of the agri-food sector' until 2025.
Since Origin Green started, over 137,000 carbon assessments have been carried out on beef and dairy farms, averaging 800 assessments each week. These have translated into 37,000 targets for beef farmers and 28,000 for dairy producers. Upon completion, these goals could reduce emissions by more than 7% and 14%, respectively.
Origin Green mandates that participants must have three- to five-year sustainability plans. Last year, 98 companies became fully verified members, bringing the total to 220.
More than 300 companies are gearing up to become part of the programme and have prepared, or have already submitted, such sustainability plans. Last year, retail and foodservice companies were accepted into the programme for the first time.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said, "Ireland is world renowned as a producer of safe, quality and sustainable food. The Origin Green brand and the assurances it provides our international customers will assist us as we strive to open new markets. This unique selling point is all the more important in a post-Brexit scenario."
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Karen Henderson. Click subscribe to sign up for ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.