The Origin Green programme was officially launched in June 2012.
That through Origin Green, Irish food and drink becomes the first choice globally because it is sustainably produced by people who care.
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.
Since the launch of Origin Green the Irish food industry has made great progress towards the aim of driving sustainable food production. This is captured in the Origin Green Progress Report published in 2019 and detailed below.
At farm level, there are over 53,000 members of Bord Bia’s Sustainable Assurance Schemes for beef, lamb, dairy, horticulture and eggs. Over 260,000 carbon assessments have taken place on beef and dairy farms, and results indicate their respective carbon footprints declined.
In terms of national production, sustainable schemes account for; 95% of milk produced, 92% of beef produced, >95% of eggs, and 70% of horticulture.
Currently there are over 320 verified members of the Origin Green Programme, representing over 90% of food and drink exports. A further 254 companies are in the process of attending workshops and developing plans.
In 2016 the programme was extended to the retail and food service sectors, using a similar mechanism. A total of 9 companies became verified members by the end of 2018. As per the Origin Green Progress Update Report, farms that joined SBLAS in 2014 saw an average of 5% reduction in CO2 per unit of beef produced and farms that joined SDAS in 2014 saw an average of 9% reduction in CO2 per unit of milk produced.
Food and drink manufacturers delivered an 11% reduction in energy use per unit of output and a 17% reduction in water use per unit of output. They donated 4,717 tonnes of surplus food to FoodCloud, planted 9,261 trees on manufacturing sites and donated over €8m to community and charity organisations. Having expanded the Origin Green programme to include foodservice and retailers in 2016, these members are in the process of delivering their 5-year sustainability programmes and results will be published when available. This category has made 212 sustainability commitments which should yield comprehensive results at foodservice and retailer level.
New Supports at Farm Level
Farmer Feedback Report
Origin Green introduced supports such as the Farmer Feedback Report in 2019, to offer practical guidance and advice to inform farmers on how to become more sustainable. As part of the Sustainable Assurance Schemes, Bord Bia auditors gather data during the audit process through the Sustainability Survey that enables Bord Bia to assess the environmental performance of quality assured farms via a carbon footprint calculation. The data gathered is now being used to generate a new farmer feedback report which includes a summary of farm performance under the following headings: General Farm Performance, Carbon Footprint, Greenhouse Gases, Nutrient Management, Grassland Management and Farm Health and Safety. The reported data will compare current farm performance against changes since the last audit and similar production systems. The purpose of the new farmer feedback report will be to demonstrate to members how their farm inputs and activities contribute to GHG production and will contain advice and feedback on how to mitigate against these emissions and improve production efficiencies.
New Supports at Manufacturer Level
In order to safeguard Origin Green’s continued evolution and to drive greater impact at the manufacturing level of the programme, a new sustainability credits system was launched in March 2020. The purpose of this new system is to cater for the diverse nature of Origin Green member companies by placing them into size appropriate membership tiers. Across a total of five tiers which are based upon a company’s annual turnover, varying target requirements are in place from a minimum of 4 targets for micro enterprises to a minimum of 8 for larger multinationals, with various requirements in between. Performance against the sustainability targets set is measured annually by a third-party verification body to determine the credits awarded, with each tier having a different threshold to achieve ongoing verification. The scoring methodology used will be available publicly to display a greater level of transparency for how membership is achieved and retained.
The Origin Green programme has also introduced a higher level of membership for companies excelling in their sustainability performance. Each year, companies that have reached a predetermined higher threshold will be designated as Gold Members of the Origin Green programme and rewarded accordingly. Companies within each respective tier will have the opportunity to achieve this milestone. This change aims to empower and facilitate members to have a greater focus upon implementation of targets as well as offering renewed communications opportunities for the programme showcasing the efforts and impact delivered by the Gold Members of Origin Green
Origin Green is unique in that it is a sustainability programme that covers the full supply chain, nationally, across Ireland's food and drinks sector from farmers and primary producers, to manufacturers, right through to our top retailers.
Since its inception in 2012, the programme has contributed to improving carbon footprint impact across the supply chain and enabling sustainability improvements at manufacturing level and retailer /foodservice level. The focus of Origin Green in this phase of its three-year strategy is on accelerating the pace of sustainability improvements across the full supply chain, while protecting Ireland’s global competitive advantage for the production of high quality sustainably produced food.
Today, as part of the Origin Green programme, 53,000 farmers are striving to make sustainability and environmental improvements on their farms and over 260,000 carbon assessments have been captured. Over 320 food manufacturers are driving positive sustainability performance, as are 4 of Irelands top 5 retailers and 6 leading foodservice companies.
Important progress has been achieved under Origin Green and the ambition now is to accelerate the pace of positive change, through initiatives currently in development like the Farmer Sustainability Programme, cognisant of the requirements in the Government's Climate Action plan to reduce emissions in Ireland agribusiness sector.
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.
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 Mabbett, 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 or Join Today!
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 Mabbett, 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.
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 closeout 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.
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.
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.
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.