Kepak retains sustainability status at Origin Green Awards
The Kepak Group has once again achieved ‘Gold Membership’ at Bord Bia’s prestigious Origin Green Awards, achieving exemplary status in a number of key areas.
These include community projects, biodiversity, and reducing emissions and waste.
Origin Green is Ireland’s food and drink sustainability program and enables industry to set and achieve measurable sustainability goals that respect the environment and serve local communities more effectively.
The program’s Gold Membership is awarded to companies that demonstrate outstanding annual performance on their sustainability goals based on the assessment of an independent verification authority.
Sustainability at Kepak
Kepak’s commitment to community and employee engagement projects and its partnership with the “Sustainable Futures” program run by University College Cork (UCC) were highlighted by the judges this year as key factors for that the food innovator obtains exemplary status.
Together with UCC and in collaboration with Maynooth University and Atlantic Technological University (ATU) and several industry partners including Kepak, Sustainable Futures aims to empower leaders to that humans and nature can thrive for generations to come.
The prestigious Gold Membership further recognizes Kepak’s sustainability strategy, Kepak CORE, for its ambitious recycling and waste minimization commitments and goals; supply chain and ingredient sourcing; biodiversity; energetic efficiency; minimize traffic; and community engagement.
Kepak Group CEO, Simon Walker, said: “Kepak is delighted to have achieved Origin Green Gold status for the second year in a row.
“The award recognizes the exceptional progress made by the entire Kepak team to improve our sustainability credentials. We have made great strides and are proud of our achievements so far, particularly in the areas of biodiversity, community engagement and manufacturing emissions.
“Given the growing environmental and energy challenges facing society, it is more important than ever that the food industry and indeed all sectors play a role in reducing our global carbon footprint,” he added.
The company said it has already reduced the impact of its operations and made progress in a number of impact areas as part of its sustainability strategy, including:
- Kepak sites are supplied with 100% green energy;
- Emissions at Kepak sites decreased by 21%;
- Water consumption across all sites fell by 2.6%.
In addition to this, Kepak Group has future commitments to:
- Reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 51% by 2030;
- Reduce food waste by 50% by 2030;
- By 2025, all branded consumer packaging will be ready for recycling, in line with the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive;
- Kepak Farm will act as a center of excellence and knowledge transfer for supplier farmers.
Protecting and enhancing biodiversity around company sites and supplier farms is a key part of Kepak’s agricultural pillar.
Together with Trinity College Dublin and the Irish Research Council, Kepak has funded pioneering research to improve pollinator diversity. As part of this project, Kepak has appointed site-level biodiversity champions who lead and monitor biodiversity.
Treatment plots were established in short and tall grass meadows, with beds of wildflowers and grass nestled in green spaces surrounding the Kepak sites, becoming home to native Irish bees.
The company has conducted biodiversity research at Kepak Farm, which acts as a knowledge transfer hub for implementing agriculture-friendly biodiversity actions through its network of farmer partners.
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, improve and restore habitats in intensive lowland agricultural lands.
Kepak Group is a family-owned meat company which today has a turnover of 1.75 billion euros and employs more than 4,500 people.
The group operates 13 manufacturing plants across Ireland and the UK with sales offices in Europe, USA, Africa and Asia.
The company markets a wide range of fresh, value-added meat products for the foodservice and retail market with leading brands Big Al’s, Rustlers, Celtic Beef and John Stone.