Irish Food Board's sustainability programme to cover three quarters of food exports by year end

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
6 October 2014

A national sustainability initiative in the Republic of Ireland aims to cover three quarters of food exports by the end of the year.

Origin Green is a programme set up just over two years ago to boost sustainability in the republic’s food supply chain to address concerns including greenhouse gas emissions, water use and population growth.

Padraig Brennan, sustainability development manager at Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, told the CIPS Annual Conference in London that by 2050 there would be a need to produce 70 per cent more food while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and using less water and land.

Speaking during a session on building strong supplier relationships, he also said business reputations were now more important, with 81 per cent of a company’s value in 2009 being based on its intangible assets, compared with just 17 per cent in 1975. “Reputation is everything,” said Brennan.

Under Origin Green, farms and food businesses sign up to a process where sustainability targets and timescales are agreed and then independently monitored. “Measure what matters,” said Brennan.

“Eighty per cent of the environmental impact of a product is inside the farm gate.”

Brennan said so far this year 23,500 farms had been visited and there was a target that three quarters of food exports would be covered by the programme by the end of 2014.

“Sustainability and efficient processes go hand in hand,” he said.

Meanwhile Des Balmforth, head of procurement for radar and advanced targeting at Selex ES, who were overall winner in the CIPS Supply Management Awards as well as picking up an award for Best Supplier Relationship Management, said they depended on good supplier relationships.

“We enjoy a market leadership position,” he told delegates. “We couldn’t be in any market leadership position without very strong supplier relationships.”

He said they had set up “integrated product teams”. “Suppliers sit at the table with procurement and engineers,” he said.

Balmforth also said it was important for procurement to move "from transactional to value add" and "from buyer to business person".

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