Origin Green, Ireland’s national food and drink sustainability programme, has published new procedures and guidelines today that put carbon emission targets on a mandatory footing for food and drink manufacturers, as the sector seeks to accelerate its contribution to the Programme for Government’s aim of carbon neutrality by 2050.
This marks a significant shift for the Origin Green programme that will see member companies go beyond reductions of energy-related emissions to include a more comprehensive assessment of their entire carbon footprint, including value chain emissions, which incorporates all indirect emissions associated with food manufacturing e.g. freight, travel.
In order to drive impact at a large scale, Bord Bia is initially introducing this mandatory carbon emission target to Origin Green members with a turnover greater than €50 million. Companies must conduct baseline assessments this year to determine emissions targets from 2022 onwards. These plans will be reviewed, monitored annually, and independently verified by international specialists Mabbett.
According to Bord Bia, the interest among companies has been very high, with over 200 food and drink companies registering to attend the ‘Pathways to Net Zero’ launch webinar today.
As part of this new development, Bord Bia has prepared comprehensive guidelines for companies on how to decarbonise their own operations and their supply chains. The advice on net zero target setting and implementation is based on the United Nation’s “Measure, Reduce, Compensate” model. This model encourages everyone in society to take action to help achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century, as enshrined in the Paris Agreement.
Today’s ‘Pathway to Net Zero’ launch builds on a number of Origin Green initiatives already in place, such as the Origin Green Sustainability Charter, which members sign up to requiring them to set and deliver on clear sustainability targets as part of their five-year sustainability plans, with a specific focus on raw material sourcing, manufacturing process and social sustainability. These plans are also monitored annually and independently verified by Mabbett.
To date, companies have set over 2,400 sustainability targets, reaffirming the industry’s commitment to continuous improvement. Over a five-year period - the duration of a firm’s sustainability plan - food and drink manufacturers in Ireland delivered an 11% reduction in energy use per unit of output and a 17% reduction in water use per unit of output.
Almost 300 food and drink companies across Ireland are verified members of Origin Green, representing over 90% of food and drink exports.
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