Sustainable targets in Ireland’s food, drink and horticulture sector saw a 100% increase last year.
That’s according to a report from the Irish Food Board, which revealed that 220 major industry players, representing 90% of total exports, committed to more than 1,600 sustainability goals during 2016.
The targets form part of the board’s Origin Green sustainability programme and cover a wide range of areas, such as raw material sourcing, energy usage and emissions, water and waste management and social sustainability.
In the four and a half years the scheme has been running, more than 137,000 carbon assessments have been completed on Irish beef and dairy farms, an average of 800 assessments per week.
More than 37,000 individual improvement targets have been established for Irish beef farmers and another 28,000 for dairy farmers. It’s thought these targets could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in excess of 7% and 14% respectively.
Last year saw 98 Irish companies become fully verified members of Origin Green and make long term sustainability plans, more than doubling the performance of any other year.
A further 310 companies are currently preparing or have already submitted plans for verification.
Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said: “Ireland is world renowned as a producer of safe, quality and sustainable food. The Origin Green brand and the assurances it provides our international customers will assist us we strive to open new markets. This unique selling point is all the more important in a post-Brexit scenario.”
Ireland has announced a doubling in sustainable research funding this year.