The Programme – What is Origin Green?
Created by Bord Bia, Origin Green is Ireland’s national food sustainability programme.
It brings together the entire food industry – from farmers to food producers, retailers to foodservice operators – with a common goal: sustainable food production. That means the production of safe, nutritious food within a viable industry that simultaneously protects and enhances the natural environment and the local community. Crucially, Origin Green is about measuring and improving how we do this on an ongoing basis.
Origin Green members include farmers and food businesses. These include:
How does Origin Green work?
Origin Green works differently for farmers and for food businesses.
Origin Green for farmers
Bord Bia has been auditing and certifying good farming standards in food safety, traceability and animal welfare for over twenty years through its Quality Assurance Schemes. In 2012, these well-established schemes were expanded into Sustainable Assurance Schemes, marking the beginning of Origin Green. Responsible farm management measures include biodiversity and the use of water, energy, feed and fertiliser.
Farmers become members of Origin Green by participating in Bord Bia’s Sustainable Assurance Schemes.
Bord Bia Quality Assurance auditors inspect Origin Green farms every 18 months and compile data on the sustainability of each farm. The information gathered by each auditor is combined with data from two other national livestock databases; the Animal Identification & Movement (AIM) and the Irish Cattle Breeders Federation (ICBF). Following each audit, the farmer receives notification of the results in a feedback report on the farm’s performance, with reassessments every 18 months. This allows them to make informed decisions on increasing the sustainability of their farms.
There are over 50,000 farmers in the newly launched Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme and over 15,000 in the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme. These represent more than 90% of all beef produced and 85% of all dairy farms in Ireland.
Origin Green for food businesses
Ireland’s food business members commit to a mandatory mix of target areas specified by the Origin Green Charter. The mandatory areas from which targets are set form the basis of a business’s 3-5 year sustainability plan. The plan is independently verified by international inspection, testing and verification specialists, SGS, to ensure the targets are viable and robust. Each plan is reviewed annually and monitored for progress against the set targets. Membership of the programme is confined to those setting and achieving targets.
The mandatory mix of areas include:
At present, Origin Green includes over 270 companies with independently verified and annually monitored sustainability plans. These members represent 90% of total Irish food and drink exports. A further 160 companies are preparing plans for verification.