'Greenwashing' could backfire on farming
Irish agriculture needs to back up its 'green' image with credible evidence rather than "glamour stories", Teagasc has warned.
"We've seen problems in other countries where they resort to glamour stories and greenwashing on biodiversity performance - that has major repercussions and backfires very quickly," Teagasc researcher and ecologist John Finn told the Farming Independent.
"In (Bord Bia's) Origin Green we are making very strong claims about sustainable performance and environmental performance that is creating a need for credible demonstration of sustainability - the industry needs credible evidence rather than glamour stories.
"If we are to continue with the sustainability claims that we are a clean, green food producing nation, we need to prove it. Other organisations outside of Ireland will be very quick to pounce on claims that we make."
Bord Bia defended the Origin Green programme, saying its ambition was to drive sustainability in food production at every point on the supply chain.
"Since the introduction of carbon footprint assessments on farms in 2013, over 212,000 individual carbon footprint calculations have taken place on over 37,000 dairy farms and 175,000 beef farms," stated Bord Bia.
"The carbon footprint calculations to date show a continued decline in the carbon footprint intensity related to the production of beef and dairy."
A new report on farm sustainability published by Teagasc last week has found that dairy farms are producing up to three times more greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions than other farming sectors.