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FAQs

What is Origin Green?

Origin Green is Ireland’s food and drink sustainability programme. It provides the food and drink industry with an infrastructure with which to measure and guide improvement of their sustainability performance. It is open to all food and drink businesses in the Republic of Ireland, including manufacturers, retailers and foodservice companies. Primary producers of food, such as meat, dairy, eggs and horticulture that are certified members of the Bord Bia Quality and Sustainability Assurance Schemes, are automatic members of Origin Green.

Processors, retailers, and foodservice may also be Bord Bia Quality Assurance members or Associate Members but that does not automatically make them Origin Green members. In order to become a verified member of Origin Green, the food and drink business must sign up to the Origin Green Charter and develop a multiannual sustainability plan. This plan is independently assessed and verified by SGS, a recognised global certification company. The purpose of this programme is to cumulatively improve the sustainability performance of the Irish food industry.

 

When was Origin Green launched?

The Origin Green programme was officially launched in June 2012.

 

What is the Origin Green vision?

That through Origin Green, Irish food and drink becomes the first choice globally because it is sustainably produced by people who care.

 

How long will it take to achieve this vision?

Origin Green was established as a long-term strategy for the Irish agri-food industry. Ultimately, the vision for the programme will continue to evolve but its core principle of producing food in a manner which balances social, economic and environmental concerns will remain.

 

Who runs Origin Green?

Origin Green is an initiative which was developed by Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, and is run in collaboration with the Irish food and drink industry. For further information on some of our partners, please visit our collaborators page

 

How do you become a member of Origin Green and can farmers participate?

Farmers become members by participating in Bord Bia’s Sustainability & Quality Assurance Schemes.

Food and drink businesses become verified members of Origin Green by signing up to the Origin Green Charter and develop a multiannual sustainability plan that is independently assessed and verified by SGS, a recognised global certification company. This 3-5 year sustainability plan sets measurable sustainability targets in a range of areas including raw material sourcing, manufacturing processes, and social sustainability. Each member must submit a progress report annually outlining the performance against the targets established within the sustainability plan. For further information on this process, please see the Origin Green Sustainability Charters.

 

Does Origin Green only focus on environmental performance?

No, Origin Green focuses on the three key pillars of sustainability which are economic, social and environmental performance.

Member companies are required to set targets in the areas of sustainable sourcing, resource efficiency, and social sustainability as part of the core requirements of Origin Green verified membership.

At the farm level, participating members are required to complete a mandatory sustainability survey which again, focuses on the three key pillars of sustainability as outlined above.

 

Does Origin Green Mean Organic?

No, Origin Green does not necessarily mean ‘organic’.  Origin Green is Ireland’s food and drink sustainability programme encompassing all food production systems being employed in Ireland. It is open to organic as well as conventional producers and food businesses.  Ireland’s national target is to have of 5% of all arable land set to organic production.  Bord Bia supports this position and is actively involved in several programmes which include National Organic Week and Organic Awards that provide assistance in the form of marketing and recognition for organic producers and food manufacturers.

 

How are members of Origin Green independently verified and accredited?

Independent verification is an integral element of the Origin Green programme. The plans created by food and drink manufacturers, retailers, and foodservice operators are independently verified and assessed by SGS, a leading inspection, testing, verification and certification body.

Farms and primary producers are members of Origin Green through Bord Bia’s Sustainability and Quality Assurance Schemes. Each farm is audited by an independent auditor every 18 months and is assessed for compliance against the criteria outlined within the respective standards.

The Sustainability and Quality Assurance standards are voluntary and cover primary products including, beef, lamb, poultry, dairy, eggs, and horticulture.

Similar schemes are also available for processors, packers and retail butchers of primary products. These schemes are examined and approved by independent experts before they can be included under Bord Bia’s ISO17065 international accreditation.

 

What is the difference between the Origin Green logo and the Bord Bia Quality Mark?

The Bord Bia Quality Mark is a logo used on food products that have been produced and processed by Bord Bia certified members. This means that it can only be used by food producers and processors who have undergone an independent audit and have been found to be in compliance with the appropriate Bord Bia Quality Assurance Standard.

In order for a product to carry the Bord Bia logo, each element of the food chain must be certified to the appropriate Bord Bia standard. Products that are not sourced from Bord Bia quality assured farms or producers cannot carry the Bord Bia logo, even if the processor is Bord Bia quality assured and vice versa.

The Origin Green logo is a business to business logo and cannot be used on product.  It can be used by verified members in B2B communications and on materials in order to highlight their participation in the Origin Green programme to their customers and suppliers.

 

Is it possible to be removed from the Origin Green programme?

Yes, membership of the Origin Green programme can be terminated for a number of reasons. Companies and retail and foodservice operators can be removed for:

  • Failing to submit a progress report annually
  • Failing to use reasonable endeavours to adhere to the commitments set out in the company’s Origin Green Sustainability Plan
  • Breaching legislative compliance which is a core requirement within the Origin Green charter

Farmers who fail to adhere to the core requirements within Bord Bia Sustainability & Quality Assurance Schemes can have certification removed if suitable mitigation procedures have not been introduced. For non-critical non-conformances, a close out model is in place where farmers have one month following the audit to close outstanding issues. For further information, please visit Bord Bia’s Sustainability & Quality Assurance Schemes.

 

What happens if an Origin Green member company is listed on the EPA’s National Priority site list?

If and when an Origin Green verified member is listed as a priority site, Origin Green’s independent verification and assessment body (SGS) will conduct an urgent site visit to comprehensively review the member’s sustainability plan and in particular, the environmental non-compliance(s) and compliance investigations as identified by the EPA.

The environmental non-compliance(s) will become part of the members’ sustainability targets, against which future progress will be monitored. If adequate progress is not made against those targets within the required timeframe, membership of the Origin Green programme will be suspended and not reinstated until the issues have been addressed.

Please contact us at origingreen@bordbia.ie if you require any further information.