Director of Origin Green, Bord Bia
A new sustainability survey outlines the commercial importance of sustainability to Irish businesses.
Earlier this month, Bord Bia published the results of one of the most extensive global surveys of thought leaders’, consumers’ and trade buyers’ attitudes to sustainability ever undertaken. The study is intended to help promote sustainability among Origin Green’s Irish food and drink businesses members and to assist them in promoting their products based on meaningful, sustainable actions.
Origin Green is the world’s only national food and drink sustainability programme, since its inception in 2012, it has been working to drive positive environmental change and sustainable production across the supply chain.
At present, consumers view food waste and packaging as the most important sustainability issues. Some 77% of people indicate that they have made an effort to buy products with less packaging.
The Origin Green Global Sustainability Survey was undertaken domestically and in 12 of Ireland’s most important export markets. Its aim was to understand attitudes to sustainability and emerging trends in three groups; agenda setters (advocacy groups, policy makers, industry leaders), customers (trade buyers, sustainability leads, operations leads) and consumers. The survey finds clear differences in what each group prioritises and how they see the topic of sustainability.
The new research insights can be viewed on the Bord Bia website by market and by sustainability theme e.g. GHG emissions, biodiversity, water, circular economy, packaging, animal welfare, food waste or regenerative agriculture. This allows Bord Bia clients to understand how customers in their key markets think about the top sustainability issues.
Insights and benefits
Research across the markets indicated that emissions were a key topic for agenda setters and customers. However, consumers are less focussed on emissions, as it is currently more difficult to link the carbon footprint to the product on-shelf. Similarly, while agenda setters are very heavily focussed on biodiversity, this issue is not yet on the radar for consumers in terms of making purchasing decisions.
At present, consumers view food waste and packaging as the most important sustainability issues. Some 77% of people indicate that they have made an effort to buy products with less packaging and 87% indicate that they have made an attempt to reduce food waste in the last 12 months.
The survey also identified clear benefits to companies who could demonstrate positive action and leadership on key sustainability issues. In several areas, consumers appear to be looking for greater information around key sustainability issues. Bord Bia believe there is an opportunity for Irish brands to stand out if they can communicate in a clear way.