Launched in 2012, Origin Green is Ireland’s food and drink sustainability programme. The vision is simple; that through Origin Green, Irish food and drink becomes the first choice globally because it is sustainably produced by people who care. It helps Ireland produce more food from less resources.
Led by Bord Bia, Origin Green is a voluntary programme that brings together Ireland’s food industry. From farmers and food manufacturers, through to retailers and foodservice operators, all come together with the common goal of sustainable food production.
Origin Green enables Ireland’s food industry set and achieve measurable sustainability targets that respect the environment and serve local communities.
It is important to note that Origin Green works in a different way for farmers and food businesses. For farmers, participation in Bord Bia’s Sustainable Assurance Schemes ensures membership of the programme. For food businesses, signing up to the relevant Origin Green charter and passing the membership process is the first step to producing an independently verified sustainability plan.
Why is sustainable food production important?
It’s important for the simple reason that our future depends on it.
As populations grow*, the need for food also grows. So too does the pressure on limited natural resources such as soil and water. Therefore, it’s vitally important that food is produced in a way that protects these natural resources rather than depleting them, while also being respectful to the community, now and into the future.
* The world’s population is estimated to increase by over a third by 2050, from the 2012 figure of 7 billion to over 9 billion people. [United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs]
Why is Ireland so well suited to sustainable food production?
Ireland has many natural advantages when it comes to food production.
Our climate makes a long, grass-growing season possible. It gives us plenty of rainwater. And our weather conditions are ideal for rearing livestock and growing many crops. Our grass-based system is more efficient and environmentally sustainable than intensive indoor animal feeding systems.
The production of good food comes naturally to us. Our famously green landscape – 80% of the agricultural land is covered in grass – is the basis for our largest indigenous industry, supporting 140,000 family farms and over 163,000 jobs.
Ireland’s world-class meat, dairy, beverages and seafood are enjoyed far beyond our shores. In a generation, our food industry has evolved into a world-class, global player. Last year, we exported €11.5 billion of food and drink to 175 countries.
As we’ve grown, the world has changed. Population increases and climate change are just two of the challenges putting enormous pressure on our planet’s finite resources. Across the globe, governments, including our own, recognise that planning for the future brings with it the responsibility of ensuring the next generations are not compromised in their ability to plan for theirs.
With Origin Green, these challenges become an opportunity for Ireland to become a world leader in sustainably produced food and drink and we are making progress towards this goal.