What is the Origin Green Ambassador Programme?

In 2013, the Origin Green Ambassador programme was set up by Bord Bia in conjunction with the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. The programme is designed to open important conversations on sustainability, and the role of Irish initiatives in export markets. These conversations take place on a global stage among leading players in the food and drink sector.

The Origin Green Ambassadors programme is built on two interlinked pillars; education and partnerships with major international food companies. Together they support Origin Green Ambassadors to develop coherent, strategic, and effective approaches to sustainability with leading global brands.

Over the course of two cycles, the programme has grown in strength and is receiving a greater level of collaboration from industry than first anticipated. The willingness to work openly with Ambassadors has seen the principles and practices of Origin Green shape strategies inside many international organisations.

Apply to be part of the next Origin Green Ambassador Programme. 


Who is involved?

The Origin Green Ambassadors programme takes 10 ambitious people who are passionately committed to the better management of our planet’s resources on a 23-month journey towards an MSc in Business Sustainability. Their journey comprises of both academic modules and company placements. Academic modules take place in the UCD Smurfit’s Business School and include guest lectures from Harvard Business School, IMD Luasanne, INSEAD and Ivey Business School.

Out of the programme’s 23 months, 17-18 are dedicated to work placements in leading commercial organisations. Here, Ambassadors are immersed in the development and implementation of sustainability programmes. Examples of placement companies include organisations in Europe, North America and Asia, including Abbott Nutrition, Ahold, Asda, Coca-Cola, EPIC(Subway), Fair Oaks Farms, Mars, M&S, McDonald’s, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Starbucks, Tesco, Unilever, Walmart, The World Bank and WWF.


Current Ambassador, Cecelia Mercer

Why is an American enrolled in the Origin Green ambassador programme? I was researching the intersection of food sustainability, ethics, and human rights at alma mater Duke University. A visiting scholar, Dr. Jason Clay, first introduced me to Origin Green. Dr. Clay told me that I needed to learn more about Ireland’s Origin Green Programme.  He said that, as the only country with a national food and beverage sustainability programme, Ireland was a global leader in this space.

A year later, I would join the Origin Green team in Dublin. When applications opened, I applied to become an Origin Green Ambassador, I wanted to help share Origin Green’s sustainability vision with corporations and governments around the world.

One of the main objectives for Origin Green Ambassadors is to develop the skills that enable us become future leaders in food and beverage business sustainability. The education combines classroom work and hands-on learning. On completion of the programme, I and the other graduates will have the ability to advise and manage change in an organisation in order to help them respond effectively to key issues in business sustainability.


Previous Ambassador, Martin Hofler, speaks about his experience

The programme offered me the opportunity to work with international food and drink companies across multiple international markets. The global food and drink industry is trusted to produce high quality products from a secure supply chain. Yet, in a world of ever-increasing resource constraints, customers, investors and producers are conscious that new sustainable business solutions are needed to sustain current output and grow into new global markets.”

He added, “As Origin Green Ambassadors, we are tasked with learning from major international food and beverage companies about their sustainability focused business practices, while promoting the Irish food and drink industry overseas”.