The Origin Green programme in Ireland is the only sustainability programme in the world that operates on a national scale, uniting government, the private sector and food producers through Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board. Independently verified, it enables Irish farmers and producers to set and achieve measurable sustainability targets – reducing environmental impact, serving local communities more effectively and protecting the rich natural resources that Ireland enjoys.
Kerry is a founder member of the Origin Green Programme and a proud supporter of the associated Origin Green Ambassador Programme, under which talented individuals get the opportunity to work internationally while completing an MSc in Business Sustainability.
The Origin Green programme operates at two levels:
- Farm Level
- Factory Level
Ireland’s mild climate and grass based dairy production system means our cows can graze outdoors for up to 300 days per year. It’s this natural method of production that makes us the most carbon efficient dairy producer in the EU. However, in pursuit of continuous improvement, Origin Green has developed the world's first internationally accredited, national dairy assurance scheme. This programme, known as the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS), aims to further enhance the credentials of the Irish dairy industry.
Kerry is committed to 100% certification of our milk supply under the SDAS scheme by the end of 2016. While this is a challenging target, our Kerry Agribusiness division are working with farmers on the ground to engage with them on SDAS and prepare them for the independent certification process.
Through the SDAS programme, farms will be assessed on quality and environmental performance as well as farm safety, traceability and animal welfare. The process allows farmers to receive information on their carbon footprint and supports them with tools and outreach programmes through which they can reduce their impacts and improve their profitability. For more information on the farm level programme check out the Origin Green website.
At factory level, member companies are required to submit an 'Origin Green Charter' outlining the actions they are proposing to take to improve the sustainability of their operations. There are three key areas of focus in the charter under which each company must set clear targets. These are:
- Raw Materials
- Manufacturing Process
- Social Sustainability
Each year Kerry Group must submit a review outlining how we have performed against our targets in each of these areas and this is independently verified by the audit body 'SGS'. Kerry Group has been a fully verified member of the programme since 2013. The Groups Origin Green Charter covers our six Irish sites and is fully aligned with our efforts under the Group’s overall sustainability programme 'Towards 2020'.