“The best Irish produce has sustainability at its heart. Not only does this result in the freshest, purest vegetables but it reflects an ethos that is true to nature. By working together, nature and farming can benefit each other. At Country Crest we embrace this in everything we do to provide a safe, secure and sustainable source of good wholesome food for our customers.
These are commitments we take seriously as they reflect our passion for agriculture, the land, our people and our environment. Our green ethos is what drives our company in the way we farm and produce our food.”
Tony Doyle, Country Crest
- Founder member of Origin Green and the first company to initiate a second five-year sustainability plan.
- Energy consumption to be reduced by 2% per annum over period of the plan.
- Waste outputs and water usage to stay at current levels as output increases by 3% per annum
Country Crest was built on the Hoey’s family tradition of growing fresh produce in North County Dublin for over 100 years. In 1993, brothers Michael and Gabriel Hoey, having recognised a changing market for potatoes in Ireland, formed Country Crest to grown and pre-pack fresh potatoes for the retail sector.
Today, Country Crest is a major supplier of quality potatoes and onions to key multiple retailers. The farm is working close to 3000ac; growing potatoes, onions, cereals, oil seed rape & beans along with a 400 head heifer beef enterprise. In 2008, Country Crest diversified into the fresh prepared meal business and established a sister company Ballymaguire Foods. Both businesses operate from its farm in Lusk, North County Dublin, with a combined workforce of 250 employees. The company has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to working with and supporting local suppliers, growers and, more recently meat and poultry providers to its fresh prepared meal business.
Country Crest operates a full traceability programme within its quality control system. It is also an approved pre-packer of Bord Bia’s quality and hygiene system and are registered with the Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association. Its beef enterprise is also approved under Bord Bia’s quality assurance scheme.
Country Crest’s business ethos centres on producing and delivering quality food at affordable prices in a sustainable manner. A range of innovative initiatives over the years saw them win in the sustainability category in the Bord Bia Food & Drink Industry Awards in 2011. Following this, the company was invited by Bord Bia to join the then pilot Origin Green programme.
Country Crest’s commitment to sustainability is reflected in a range of positive actions, including the installation of an 800kW wind turbine, which provides approximately 50% of electrical energy needs on site. The operation of an integrated crop management system; a focus on more sustainable packaging and ongoing initiatives around the recycling of water, composting of green waste and use of green energy are commitments that are taken seriously to reflect their passion for agriculture, the land, people and the environment.
Origin Green achievements
As a founding member of Origin Green in 2012, Country Crest has made significant achievements from its first charter. Thanks to the tremendous effort put in by all employees, the company has made great progress in the following areas:
- Energy; reduced energy by 3.42% per unit of produce
- Waste; reduced landfill waste from 88t to 15t
- Water; there has been huge changes in the work place practices around water use on the site resulting in an 8% reduction
- Biodiversity; exceeded its targets in hedge row planting. Maintenance of biodiversity sites onsite are constant throughout the year
- CSR; Continued support to local charities and clubs. Overseas projects have progressed well, and previously agreed milestones have been met in projects in Ethiopia, Haiti & Lesotho.
Country Crests second five-year plan
Country Crest is now the first company to undertake a second sustainability plan. Having completed its initial five-year Origin Green plan in 2016, the company’s new plan is focusing on continuing improvements in the area of raw material sourcing; manufacturing; and social sustainability.
In raw material sourcing, the second plan has set five key targets:
- supporting improvements in the sustainability credentials of its suppliers
- reducing the use of packaging on inputs
- a commitment to 30% of paper being sustainably sourced by 2020
- a move to water-based ink being used across all sites
- maintenance of the 100% Quality Assured beef in its production processes.
In manufacturing, targets include:
- reducing energy consumption by 2% per annum over five years
- maintaining waste outputs and water usage at current levels as output increases by 3% per annum.
In support of biodiversity,
Actions include the introduction of bee hives and the planting of hedgerows, as well as maintenance of the existing wildlife sanctuary and heritage orchard.
Country Crest is committed to actively supporting social sustainability through projects and initiatives at home and abroad. Internationally, it is involved in many projects in developing countries utilising skills and resources to work with local growers in countries such as Lesotho, Haiti and Ethiopia. At home, it supports various fundraising events for local charities and provides further support to local sports clubs and community events, and hosts numerous school visits over the year.
Increasing staff awareness and participation in health and wellness activities is also a priority and as a result the company has increased the number of healthy options available in its canteen and the number of staff utilising the Bike2Work scheme. Reflecting its commitment to public wellbeing, the company now includes health and nutrition as key criteria in all new product development.
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