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Pioneering Programme To Develop Industry-Leading Sustainability Skills

By Donna Ahern
Pioneering Programme To Develop Industry-Leading Sustainability Skills

The Origin Green Academy is set to develop industry-leading sustainability skills for the Irish food and drink industry.

Origin Green is Ireland’s pioneering food and drink sustainability programme.

Operating on a national scale, it unites government, the private sector and the full supply chain, from farmers to food producers, and through to the foodservice and retail sectors.

The programme is the world’s only national food and drink sustainability programme and it currently collaborates with over 55,000 farms and over 300 businesses across Ireland.

Food Vision 2030, a landmark strategy for the Irish agri-food sector, has highlighted Origin Green’s instrumental role in monitoring and driving improvements in environmental sustainability across the food and drink sector and demonstrating this to trade customers and consumers, both at home and abroad.

Under this pioneering strategy, Origin Green will expand its ambition over the coming years and accelerate Ireland’s progress in fostering a thriving agri-food sector that is responsive to the future needs of people and our planet.

Origin Green Academy

In May this year, Bord Bia and Skillnet Ireland launched the Origin Green Academy to develop sustainability skills and talent for the Irish food and drink industry.

To establish this new initiative, Bord Bia partnered with the Lean & Green Skillnet and 20FIFTY Partners to develop a series of sustainability-themed training programmes.

Launched in support of the EU Year of Skills, the Origin Green Academy has been developed to support Irish food, drink, and horticulture businesses to develop industry-leading sustainability talent, including emissions reductions skills.

The latter will be required to achieve ambitious emissions reductions targets across the sector, accelerate sustainability progress, and meet the expectations of global consumers and legislative requirements such as the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive.

“I’m delighted to announce this innovative collaboration with Skillnet Ireland, as it reflects Bord Bia’s continued determination to accelerate the sustainability ambitions of the Irish food and drink sector and provide targeted, effective resources for our member companies,” said Bord Bia CEO Jim O’Toole, who was speaking at the launch of the Origin Green Academy last month.

“The Origin Green Academy builds on the supports and initiatives we provide to the industry, such as introducing mandatory emissions targets for large companies, the recent Pathway to Net Zero emissions guidance, and our bespoke Science Based Targets guidance series.

"Through over a decade of progress, Origin Green has created a significant point of differentiation for our industry, and the Origin Green Academy in partnership with the Lean & Green Skillnet is a natural evolution of our goal to increase meaningful partnerships across the sector and drive sustainability progress at the most senior level of Irish businesses.”

Overall, the Origin Green Academy will provide a suite of supports over a three-year period to Origin Green members on a one-to-one, sector- specific, and programmes level basis.

It will integrate Origin Green’s existing sustainability supports (which include over 20 sustainability guidance webinars held in conjunction with sustainability experts, companies, and partner organisations), seven in depth sustainability topic guidance documents, and a range of marketing communications and supports.

Origin Green Academy and its Pathway Programmes, meetings and events are open to Origin Green members, and focus on the sharing of best practice, and the value of the network as a forum for sustainability management challenges to be shared and discussed in an open and collaborative manner across organisational boundaries.

Pathways to Net Zero

The first programme to be offered by the Origin Green Academy in partnership with the Lean & Green Skillnet is Pathways to Net Zero.

This is a training, mentoring and support programme that will prepare Origin Green member companies to meet commercial emission reduction requirements and prepare for the new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive Climate Change disclosures which will commence in 2024.

This training, mentoring and support programme is suitable for organisations who wish to lead in developing and implementing their carbon emission reduction strategies in the context of the forthcoming Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) requirements.

Participating organisations will work alongside their peers to identify and address best practice approaches to emissions baselining, target setting and action planning through facilitated workshops and expert guest speakers.

Participants will develop and present an emissions action plan for their business.

A unique aspect of this programme is that it will help organisations meet Origin Green requirements while ensuring that participants fully understand the requirements and have appropriate plans for the upcoming non-financial disclosures as part of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).

Programme workshops are delivered through a blend of in-person tutor-led sessions and interactive live online mentoring and support workshops. Sessions will focus on supplying real world industry examples and peer to peer learning opportunities.

Course facilitators and experts from industry will deliver an interactive programme between May and December.

The programme will be delivered both in-person and online. The six workshops will include group discussion peer to peer and one-to-one mentoring.

Forthcoming Programmes

Further specialised programmes will be offered by the Origin Green Academy, with new programmes forthcoming later this year.

In October, the Lean & Green Skillnet will partner with Origin Green and 20FIFTY Partners to offer a new Pathways to Sustainable Packaging programme to support their member companies to integrate sustainable packaging management practices into their business operations.

This training and mentoring programme will provide businesses with a structured approach to develop strategies and actions towards creating sustainable packaging management solutions and making a positive impact to achieve corporate sustainability goals and targets.

This programme is designed to equip participants with the know-how to integrate sustainable and optimised packaging practices into their business activities.

Taking a structured approach, the programme will align emerging legislative requirements and targets with industry- led research and international best practices.

“The first two programmes on offer from the Academy will help address some of the most difficult practical sustainability challenges facing firms operating in the sector – reducing emissions and deploying sustainable packaging policies and solutions,” said Maria Kelly, head of communications with 20FIFTY Partners, the promoting agency for the Lean & Green Skillnet, who outlined the initial programmes launched by the Academy.

“They will achieve this through structured peer to peer learning approaches that are anchored in international best practices.”

Industry Collaboration & Partnerships

Origin Green’s overarching strategy, ‘Powered by Partnership,’ recognises that sustainability can’t be reduced to a single issue and highlights the crucial role of the partnership approach to drive impact, innovation, and improvements across the supply chain.

The Origin Green Academy is an important step in the evolution of the programme, and is yet another example of the industry collaboration, inter-agency engagement, and strong partnerships with the private sector that the programme has fostered since its inception.

Speaking at the launch of the Origin Green Academy, Skillnet Ireland chief executive Paul Healy said that the new initiative is an excellent example of collaboration between industry and national stakeholders which can help Ireland achieve its climate goals.

“I want to commend the excellent work of the Lean & Green Skillnet in partnership with industry, and the Origin Green team at Bord Bia in bringing this new initiative to fruition,” he said.

“This suite of programmes and projects will assist Irish businesses in the food, drink and horticulture sectors to deliver on their own sustainability objectives whilst also supporting Ireland’s climate ambitions. Scaled and impactful inter agency collaboration with industry on the Green Skills agenda is encouraging and positive to see, particularly in the EU Year of Skills.”

To find out more about the Origin Green Academy, visit

Building On A Decade Of Progress

"Since its launch over a decade ago, Origin Green has delivered a recognised, competitive advantage globally to the industry as customers and consumers around the world are looking for assurances that their food is sustainably sourced," said Deirdre Ryan, director of Quality Assurance and Origin Green at Bord Bia.

"However, against the growing urgency of climate change, among other pressing environmental challenges, the agenda around sustainability has seen a decisive shift in recent years.

"We know that further in-depth technical sustainability support is required if Origin Green members are to continue to meet their targets and deliver enhanced sustainability plans and programmes which meet regulatory and customer expectations.

"The launch of the Origin Green Academy is yet another step on our journey to providing best in class insights and guidance to the sector.

"As well as developing sustainability talent, the Origin Green Academy and the Pathway programmes will provide a platform for Origin Green members and leaders to exchange new ideas and foster new thinking around the most pressing sustainability-related challenges of today.

"The Irish government has made it clear that Origin Green will continue to play a crucial role in supporting the food and drink industry to achieve the sustainability progress and emissions reductions required to secure the long-term future of one of our most important indigenous industries.

"As we look to the future of our industry over the next decade, Origin Green will continue to expand its ambition and accelerate its progress in fostering a thriving agri-food sector that is responsive to the future needs of people and our planet."

Read More: Bord Bia And Skillnet Ireland Launch Origin Green Academy

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