2015 will be the beginning of a new era for Irish dairy. At the heart of this new era will be old traditions. Irish dairy farmers have been farming in harmony with nature for thousands of years. Our lush green landscape and temperate climate provide the ideal conditions for sustainable dairy farming and offer Irish produce a unique selling point in international markets. As an industry we are moving in tandem to prove and improve our sustainability credentials. Sustainability is at the heart of the IDB. It is embedded in everything we do and while we are proud of our current position as a world leader in sustainable dairy we look forward to working with the industry to continuously improve every aspect of our business.
For generations Irish family farms have been practicing sustainable farming methods. Our grass-based production system is amongst the most sustainable in the world. To preserve the extraordinary value of the industry, IDB strives to continuously maintain a sharp focus on the quality of the dairy products it produces. Maintaining the integrity of the industry and its reputation for excellence in food safety and quality is fundamental to growing the business. This is why IDB so strongly supports Bord Bia’s Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme.
Our People and Supply Chain
Our Customers and Consumers
2014 was the International Year of Family Farming. The family is at the heart of Irish dairy farming. The passion for farming is passed down from generation to generation and has shaped the way we farm. It is not uncommon for three generations of an Irish family to work together on the same farm. Land is also passed down through the family; in fact the average Irish farm only changes hands outside the family once every 550 years.
Today’s consumer demands high-quality, sustainably produced products. Our customers are moving quickly to react to this consumer demand. They have put stringent programmes in place to ensure sustainable production throughout their entire supply chain. While for many of our competitors the sustainability demands of these customers will present a challenge, for the Irish dairy industry, it presents an opportunity to showcase what we do naturally. Ireland has the perfect attributes for sustainable dairy farming, and with the SDAS we can now prove it. The SDAS audits dairy farmers against over 170 criteria at 18 month intervals. The scheme measures performance in quality and sustainability and determines the carbon footprint of every Irish dairy farm. In this new post quota environment, SDAS, will be a vital tool in proving our sustainability attributes and will enable the IDB, on behalf of the industry, to market and promote the premium attributes of Irish dairy products.
Origin Green is an industry sustainability programme which requires participants to develop and implement sustainability plans in areas such as procurement, operations and social sustainability. In 2013 IDB became the first dairy company to receive Origin Green Accreditation. We are proud to have maintained our accreditation in 2014. In 2014 we also provided support to a number of our members as they sought accreditation. 98% of our Irish product comes from companies engaging in Origin Green. In 2015 we hope to achieve 100% procurement from Origin Green participants in Ireland.
To further complement Origin Green, IDB has developed a Sustainability Continuous Improvement Programme at all of our global sites. The programme involves measuring and managing energy, water and waste consumption against key performance indicators at each site. We are proud to have implemented a number of best practice initiatives at our sites and achieved significant results including:
In 2014 IDB also incorporated sustainability into the design process for all new construction developments.
In 2014 the IDB introduced a Global Supply Chain Integrity project to continuously improve how it works with third party stakeholders worldwide, to drive increased quality and food safety standards. In the first year of the project over 30 sites were visited and audited across the world. The IDB also maintained BRC Grade A rating across all Group subsidiary factories including achieving accreditation within three months of the opening of the new Thiel facility in Hilbert, Wisconsin.
During 2014 the business worked closely with all transport and logistics partners in preparation for the introduction of Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECA) and to ensure full compliance for 2015. It continues to include sustainability in the tender process for all transport, logistic and supply chain contracts and partners with service providers to ensure a minimal impact on the environment.
As a co-operative organisation IDB’s primary objective is to create shared value for the dairy industry and dairy farmers in Ireland. The IDB works tirelessly to ensure that it remains a sustainable supply chain partner for key customers. The business has embedded sustainability in all elements of the business but also has taken steps to empower others to become more sustainable. As well as supporting local schools, charities and sports clubs, some of the initiatives and organisations we supported in 2014 include:
IDB is committed to encouraging its staff to live and work in a sustainable way. The business endeavours to provide the resources to support and develop its staff both professionally and personally.
In 2014 significant progress was continued in the advancement of in-house people development capability, with a strong focus on ensuring the quality of both internal and external development initiatives.
In 2014 IDB introduced lunchtime learning sessions where staff from different parts of the business gave an overview of their role to better inform their colleagues and enhance their working knowledge of the business.
The second year of IDB’s annual staff health initiative encouraged staff at all fitness levels to get active by walking or running at lunchtime. The programme culminated in the ‘Kerrygold Mile’, a one mile (1.6km) fun race for walkers and runners.