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Bord Bia and Skillnet Ireland have today launched the Origin Green Academy to develop sustainability skills and talent for the Irish food and drink industry. Bord Bia has partnered with the Lean & Green Skillnet and 20FIFTY Partners, to develop a series of sustainability themed training programmes.

Launched in support of the EU Year of Skills, the Origin Green Academy will support Irish food, drink, and horticulture businesses to develop industry leading sustainability talent and the emissions reductions skills required to achieve ambitious emissions reductions across the sector, accelerate their sustainability progress, and meet the expectations of global consumers and legislative requirements such as the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive.

The first programme to be offered by the Origin Green Academy in partnership with Lean & Green Skillnet is Pathways to Net Zero; a training, mentoring and support programme that will prepare Origin Green member companies to meet commercial emission reduction requirements and prepare for the new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive Climate Change disclosures which will commence in 2024.

Speaking at launch, Bord Bia CEO Jim O’Toole said; “I’m delighted to announce this innovative collaboration with Skillnet Ireland, as it reflects Bord Bia’s continued determination to accelerate the sustainability ambitions of the Irish food and drink sector and provide targeted, effective resources for our member companies. The Origin Green Academy builds on the supports and initiatives we provide to the industry, such as introducing mandatory emissions targets for large companies, the recent Pathway to Net Zero emissions guidance, and our bespoke Science Based Targets guidance series. Through over a decade of progress, Origin Green has created a significant point of differentiation for our industry, and the Origin Green Academy in partnership with Lean & Green Skillnet is a natural evolution of our goal to increase meaningful partnerships across the sector and drive sustainability progress at the most senior level of Irish businesses.”

Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive Paul Healy highlighted that the new initiative is an excellent example of how Skillnet Ireland’s model of collaboration between industry and national stakeholders can help Ireland achieve its climate goals; “ I want to commend the excellent work of the Lean & Green Skillnet in partnership with industry, and the Origin Green team at Bord Bia, in bringing this new initiative to fruition. This suite of programmes and projects will assist Irish businesses in the food, drink and horticulture sectors to deliver on their own sustainability objectives whilst also supporting Ireland’s climate ambitions. Scaled and impactful inter agency collaboration with industry on the Green Skills agenda is so positive to see in this the EU Year of Skills.”

Maria Kelly, Head of Communications with 20FIFTY Partners, the promoting agency for the Lean & Green Skillnet, outlined the initial programmes launched by the Academy; “The first two programmes on offer from the Academy will help address some of the most difficult practical sustainability challenges facing firms operating in the sector – reducing emissions and deploying sustainable packaging policies and solutions. They will achieve this through structured peer to peer learning approaches and anchored in international best practices.”

Overall, the Origin Green Academy will provide a suite of supports over a three-year basis to Origin Green members on a one-to-one, sector-specific, and programmes level basis. It will integrate Origin Green’s existing sustainability supports, which include over 20 sustainability guidance webinars held in conjunction with sustainability experts, companies and partner organisations; 7 in depth sustainability topic guidance documents, and a range of marketing communications and supports. The Academy will also provide a platform for Origin Green members and leaders to exchange new ideas and foster new thinking around the most pressing sustainability related challenges of today.

Origin Green Academy and the Pathway Programmes meetings and events are open to Origin Green members and focus on the sharing of best practice, highlighting the value of the network as a forum for sustainability management challenges to be shared and discussed in an open and collaborative manner across organisational boundaries.

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