‘Our sustainability journey has resulted in many positive initiatives’
Origin Green is Ireland’s national food sustainability programme. It is a voluntary programme led by Bord Bia that brings together farmers, food producers, retailers and food service operators with the common goal of sustainable food production. This month, we speak with Brennans Bakeries, Ireland’s largest producer of packaged bread.
Why did Brennans get involved in Origin Green?
At Brennan Bakeries, we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously. Our sustainability journey began before we engaged with the Origin Green programme. We had already developed our own sustainability policy, which saw us installing rainwater harvesting, solar panels, variable speed drives and much more.
Becoming a verified member of Origin Green in 2015 has driven us to do even more. Apart from it being good for our bottom line, with reduced energy and waste costs, it has given us a sense of being part of national and even international effort to support sustainability practices.
What are your key sustainability achievements since joining?
Forming a dedicated, multi-disciplined sustainability team at the start of the journey was certainly key. That and buy-in at director level enabled us to collaboratively define a clear path forward and set out well-defined targets for the journey ahead.
One of the first things we introduced was an energy monitoring and targeting system, which enables us to monitor our energy usage at 15-minute intervals. We use this to identify areas where energy efficiency is low and develop projects to address those areas. We now only purchase 100% certified green electricity and we’re part of the All Ireland Pollinator Programme.
We’ve moved onto our second five-year sustainability plan, which will include our transport fleet and product packaging as key areas of focus. Looking back over the past five years, the key achievement has been making sustainability part of every long-term discussion we have here at Brennans Bakeries.
What are your current areas of focus and why?
One key area we are focusing on at the moment is the packaging for our bread products. Sustainable packaging is so important for the environment, now and for generations to come. The unique wax paper, which is used for many of our bread products, has been tested in line with the EU Directives on Packaging and Packaging Waste.
It is 100% recyclable and industrial compostable by conforming to the EU Standards EN 13430 and EN13432, and has also been locally certified by Cré, the Irish Compostable Certification
Scheme for Industrial Compostability.
This will give our customers the choice to put their Brennans wax paper packaging either into the green or brown bin. An awareness campaign for these developments will be launched in the coming months.
How do you see the sustainability agenda shaping your business in the future?
Sustainability is and will continue to be a key business driver for Brennans Bakeries. We are committed to meeting our goals and in doing so, creating long-term value for our business and our customers. We are on a journey with sustainability, which has already resulted in many positive initiatives being implemented that we are proud of.
We will continue to do what we can to create more sustainable solutions for the benefit of the environment, society and the business. We look forward to the next part of this journey. To find out more about the Origin Green programme, visit origingreen.ie
Sustainable packaging is a key focus for Brennans Bread