Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has called on the country’s food and drink companies to “enhance” the sustainability of their supply chain.

Speaking at an industry conference in Dublin yesterday (26 September), Kenny said it was “good business to have corporate social responsibility”.

He said: “In the long run the investment in developing and maintaining a sustainable and socially responsible business model will pay dividends.”

The Taoiseach told the summit, organised by Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, that Ireland had been “ahead of the game” on the issue.

He pointed to the launch of Origin Green, a government-backed programme launched last year to highlight what the Irish government calls the country’s “green reputation” – and to encourage more local producers to do business sustainably.

Kenny told attendees the response to the Origin Green campaign had been “tremendous”. Around 300 companies have registered with the programme to date, he said.

“Origin Green, will show the world, in a very direct and compelling way, some simple but important facts about Ireland: That the capacity to produce good food comes naturally to us and that our food production is based consistently on the highest standards. It is supported by investment in food science and research, both nationally and internationally,” Kenny said.

He was speaking at a conference held to discuss the necessity of developing sustainable food practices and to also provide a platform to analyse the actions being taken by the industry. 

“Origin Green is why Ireland should be judged to meet the highest international standards. Origin Green is not just a marketing ploy but is a visionary plan to reorient an entire argi-food industry,” Kenny added.

“The bottom line for today’s food and drink businesses is to enhance the sustainability of the supply chain to meet the needs of today, while ensuring that future generations can meet theirs.”

The Taoiseach added “one of the shining lights” of Ireland’s economic recovery has been its agri-food industry, a sector he said has been “a national leader” in growing exports.

“After reaching new record highs last year I’m confident that more jobs and investment can be made in the sector as Ireland recovers.”