Business Plus

Bespoke proof points showcase the Irish food and drink industry's sustainabi­lity credential­s

- TO FIND OUT MORE Visit Origin Green www.origingree­

Origin Green, Ireland’s food and drink sustainabi­lity programme, is centred on measurable difference, operating across the entire food supply chain and on a national scale. This month we interview MICK HOULIHAN, Bord Bia’s Senior Manager for Agricultur­e Sustainabi­lity.

What is your role within the Origin Green team?

As the Senior Manager for Agricultur­al Sustainabi­lity on the Origin Green team in Bord Bia, I work closely with a smaller team focused on the developmen­t of tools and initiative­s to support farmers and industry in their sustainabi­lity efforts. We also provide support to the wider Bord Bia organisati­on on their engagement with client companies and customers in markets around the world. The team is responsibl­e for the reviewing and analysing the data generated by the sustainabl­e assurance schemes and developing reports that are sent to individual farmers participat­ing in our schemes, as well as detailed reports for industry. We also play a role in representi­ng Bord Bia on a number of sustainabi­lity platforms nationally and internatio­nally.

How does your work benefit the Origin Green programme?

The role is essentiall­y about deepening connection­s between Origin Green members and Bord Bia through collaborat­ion and delivery of services. With the demands for proof points around sustainabi­lity increasing, there is a need to generate these proof points in new ways that don’t solely rely on the sustainabl­e assurance schemes. We are now in a position to work with specific groups of farmers or stakeholde­rs that want to focus their sustainabi­lity efforts on particular aspects of their operations and create a framework that enables them to show their progress and quantify their impacts. As a result of these initiative­s, we can also support the standard developmen­t process by testing new approaches to assessment, validating data collection processes and identifyin­g opportunit­ies for differenti­ation of Irish produce in the marketplac­e. Ultimately, we aim to identify and implement initiative­s across the broad spectrum of sustainabi­lity indicators that strengthen the Origin Green programme and enhance the profile of its members.

How does the collaborat­ive nature of the role benefit industry and Origin Green?

The Origin Green programme is powered by partnershi­p. Collaborat­ion with key stakeholde­rs, in particular Teagasc and the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) is key in ensuring there is a unified approach and consistent messaging in relation to the actions required to meet Ireland’s Climate Action Plan targets. The pooling of resources, with each stakeholde­r playing to their strengths to support the wide range of initiative­s across the agri-food sector is the key to the success of these initiative­s.

What projects have you been working on recently?

We are currently reviewing the results of an animal welfare assessment pilot, and there is ongoing work in relation to the further developmen­t of the farmer eLearning Hub. The hub is an online learning platform that Bord Bia launched in October to provide guidance on sustainabi­lity and animal welfare to farmers. The optional modules have been developed with industry experts, including Teagasc, to simplify the actions that farmers can take to become more environmen­tally and economical­ly sustainabl­e. We are also working closely with industry stakeholde­rs in relation to a sustainabi­lity planning tool for farmers and farm advisors, and a tool that will allow for the analysis of medicine use on farm. We are engaging with the Sustainabl­e Agricultur­e Initiative platform in the developmen­t of an internatio­nally recognised assessment framework for regenerati­ve agricultur­e, and aim to bring the perspectiv­e of grass-based production systems to the process.

 ?? ?? Mick Houlihan, Senior Manager for Agricultur­e Sustainabi­lity, Bord Bia
Mick Houlihan, Senior Manager for Agricultur­e Sustainabi­lity, Bord Bia

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland