Michael Hussy, regional manager, Bord Bia, explains the benefits of the company’s sustainability programme, Origin Green.
Ireland has a long history of supplying food to the GCC region, historically beef and dairy products. Today, products coming to the GCC range from ice cream and poultry products, beef, seafood, yogurts, chocolate, bakery items to gluten free and health products. Last year, Ireland exported nearly €300 million worth of food to the GCC with aims to grow that to over €500 million by 2020.
In line with its commitment to the future, Bord Bia launched Origin Green, Ireland’s nationwide sustainability programme focused on the country’s entire food and drink industry. It is a key factor of the Irish Government’s strategy of FoodWise 2025 which foresees Ireland gaining recognition and reward in the international marketplace for the sustainable production and high quality of Irish food exports.
Origin Green is the only food and drink sustainability programme in the world operating on a national scale, uniting government, the private sector and food producers through Bord Bia. It is a voluntary programme, independently verified by SGS, which enables Ireland’s farmers, food producers and retail and foodservice operators to set and achieve measurable sustainability targets while reducing environmental impact, serving local communities more effectively and protecting natural resources. Under Origin Green, food and drink producers make commitments under three key areas which include raw material sourcing, manufacturing processes and social sustainability. As the programme has evolved, health and nutrition is now also a key focus area within the Origin Green Sustainability Charter.
Businesses worldwide are beginning to align themselves with the objectives of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that people enjoy peace and prosperity. Irish food producers under the Origin Green programme align to nine of the 17 SDG’s and offer a key advantage to businesses seeking sustainability improvements along their supply chain.
With a population of almost 5 million people, Ireland produces enough food to feed almost 36 million people and 95% of its food and drink exports around the world are produced under the Origin Green programme. In a region where sustainability and food security is of growing importance and focus, Irish food producers are well suited to build long-lasting mutually beneficial business relationships with Middle Eastern countries centred on protecting the natural environment for future generations.