When we think of Ireland, we often think of endless hills of lush, bright grass with cows and sheep grazing on it. This picture should not only be a reminder of the good old days, but a model for a new direction for agriculture and sustainability – in Ireland and the whole world.

To this end, Ireland took an unprecedented step in 2012. The government, farmers and Bord Bia (a semi-governmental agency) jointly developed a plan called Origin Green. To this end, Ireland took an unprecedented step. The government, farmers and Bord Bia (a semi-governmental agency) jointly developed a plan called Origin Green. The idea is to help the Irish food industry to produce food in the most sustainable way possible. The aim is to ensure that 100% of Irish food exports come from sustainable agriculture [1].

Sustainability as a niche

The idea for this initiative was not born out of pure love for the environment and nature. Ireland suffered particularly badly from the financial crisis of 2008, and after years of recovery, Ireland faced massive problems [2]. Fortunately, this crisis barely affected the traditionally strong agricultural sector, which includes relatively small, often inherited farms.

A positive image, therefore, did not have to be artificially created – an enormous advantage when it comes to credibility with consumers. And so, no major changes had to be made within the country.

Huge farms are exceptionally efficient, and family farms already used far less artificial feed than the European average – all in all, no bad conditions for success in the “sustainable food” niche [3].

Ireland as a model green island in terms of sustainability?

Even though Ireland is making giant strides in the field of agriculture, we must not make the mistake of thinking there is no longer any reason to develop. Within the sphere of renewable energy, for example, Ireland has a lot of catching up to do.

The initiative for enhanced sustainability must be understood within the context of the severe impact of a financial crisis. But, that is exactly the purpose of the model: Ireland is impressively demonstrating that sustainability and economic efficiency go hand in hand and can drive each other forward [4].

References:

[1] Origin Green – Ireland’s National Food and Drink Sustainability Programme, https://thesustainabilityalliance.us/origin-green-ireland-sustainability/

[2]
Hell at the Gates: How the financial crash hit Ireland, https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/hell-at-the-gates-how-the-financial-crash-hit-ireland-36709945.html

[3] Sustainable Food Production, https://www.origingreen.ie/what-is-origin-green/sustainable-food-production/

[4] Renewable energy targets, https://www.seai.ie/data-and-insights/seai-statistics/key-statistics/renewables

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