Kepak Group, has become the only Irish meat company to achieve ‘Exemplary Performance’ for biodiversity at Bord Bia’s Origin Green Awards. This accolade has come as Kepak achieved Origin Green Gold Membership status. The award is in recognition of its significant commitment to sustainability targets and initiatives in recent years as part of the world’s only national food and drink sustainability programme.
Origin Green is Ireland’s pioneering food and drink sustainability programme and enables the industry to set and achieve measurable sustainability targets that respect the environment and serve local communities more effectively. The programme’s Gold Membership is awarded to companies who demonstrate an exceptional annual performance on their sustainability targets based on the assessment of an independent verification authority.
The prestigious membership acknowledges Kepak’s sustainability strategy, Kepak CORE for its ambitious commitments and targets regarding recycling and waste minimisation, supply chain and sourcing of ingredients, biodiversity, energy efficiency, minimising traffic, and community engagement. The business’ dedicated efforts to support the training, safety, diversity, health, and engagement of its staff has also contributed to the Gold Membership status, achieving exemplary performance across a total of seven target areas.
“All of us at Kepak are very pleased to have achieved Origin Green Gold Membership status and view this accreditation as a strong endorsement of our commitment, innovation, and action in enhancing the sustainability of Irish food production,” commented Simon Walker, CEO Kepak Group. “In order to build a culture of sustainability at Kepak, we have made sustainability core to how we conduct every aspect of our business,” he said.
“Given we are facing a warming world, with more people and less resources, there has never been a more crucial time to act against climate change,” Mr Walker continued. “As a business we are committed to delivering our science-based sustainability targets. We are proud of what we have accomplished so far and continue to focus on achieving a pathway to net zero”. he concluded.
“Bord Bia would like to congratulate Kepak Group for achieving Gold Membership for 2021 which recognises members who are performing at a high level or excelling in their sustainability performance in a given year. Kepak’s high performance, particularly in the area of biodiversity, highlights its ambitious efforts and commitment to all aspects of sustainability. I wish Kepak every success in continuing its sustainability journey into the future,” said Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy.
Key highlights of Kepak’s sustainability achievements to date:
• -29% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
• 100% Irish sites powered via green energy
• 100% sites zero to landfill
• 98% food waste diverted
• Kepak farm designed a Teagasc signpost farm
• Care for 700,000 bees across Irish & UK sites
• 204 UN sustainable development goals championed across sites
Spotlight on Kepak’s Biodiversity programme
Protecting and enhancing biodiversity around the company’s sites and farms of suppliers is a key component of Kepak’s agriculture pillar. Kepak is a founding member of the Irish Business & Biodiversity platform and a supporter of the All-Ireland Pollinator plan. Together with Trinity College Dublin and the Irish Research Council, Kepak has funded pioneering research to enhance pollinator diversity. As part of this project, Kepak designated biodiversity champions at site level who conduct and monitor biodiversity. Treatment plots have been established in short and long grass meadows, with wildflower and herb beds nestled in green areas surrounding Kepak sites, becoming home to native Irish honeybees. The company conducted biodiversity research at Kepak Farm which acts as a knowledge transfer centre for implementing farm friendly biodiversity actions via its partner farming network. Kepak is also an operational partner of the BRIDE valley biodiversity project. The project aims to design and implement a results-based approach to conserve, enhance and restore habitats in lowland intensive farmland.