An Taisce review of Origin Green

4th May 2017

An Taisce made a submission to Aidan Cotter, the Chief Executive of Bord Bia on the strengths and weaknesses of Bord Bia’s Origin Green programme to date. The comments provided in this document are based on years of experience working in Ireland’s environmental NGO sector. Our appraisal of the Origin Green programme is based on our personal experiences engaging with Bord Bia, Origin Green’s PR and a number of documents published by Bord Bia including the Origin Green Sustainability Charter (2014), the Origin Green Sustainability Report (2015) and the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme, Bord Bia (2013).

Fintan Kelly, Natural Environment Officer with An Taisce said "In summary An Taisce strongly support the Origin Green vision for 2050. Given the current trajectory Irish agriculture is on it will be a significant challenge to achieve many aspects of the 2050 vision. In the short term the best pathway to achieving the sustainability vision lies in promoting measures which ensure that the Irish agri-food sector is compliant with national and EU targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, halt biodiversity loss and improve water quality. Efforts to improve sustainability must focus on areas where Irish agriculture is currently having a negative impact on the environment rather than simply focusing on areas where we have a perceived market advantage. Origin Green must look to go beyond basic compliance with cross compliance measures if Ireland hopes to be a global leader in sustainable food and drink. Setting realistic targets and deadlines for achieving improvements in sustainability will be essential. Origin Green must look to incentivise the most sustainable producers to maintain or improve their standards. Origin Green must address the net environmental impact of the Irish food and drink industry. An efficiency based approach will not achieve this end. Focusing on improving the worst producers alone will not be an effective approach in the long run. Origin Green must review the criteria required for Origin Green membership."

For further information: Charles Stanley Smith, Public Affairs, An Taisce, Tel: +353 87 241 1995