mary shelman and damien mcloughlin

Origin Green as a national brand for Ireland

Professor Damien McLoughlin from University College Dublin and Mary Shelman from Harvard Business School recently shared with delegates at the 2nd Queenstown Agribusiness Symposium about Origin Green – a national brand that set the basis for economy recovery during the financial crisis.

The Irish economy was in disarray then; the construction and building industry foundered during the time, leading the country to the verge of bankruptcy.

However in rural Ireland, huge potential lies in the agricultural industry as the industry of its own offered a ray of hope.

With the prediction that global food demand would increase 70% by 2050, a strategic vision was developed – to be a world-class agricultural industry by 2016 and producing natural food products, the quality of which could be proved.

 The Origin Green brand was designed to help grow food exports and link to a strategy, Food Harvest 2020, which set an ambitious export growth target.

"Users of the brand had to adhere to standards contained in the charter which set out sustainability standards covering raw material sourcing, the manufacturing process, and social sustainability."

"Companies wanting to use the brand were audited by an independent third party and monitored annually."

Primary sector exports had since increased from seven billion euros in 2010 to 10.5 billion in 2014.

Alongside the brand, a project was also developed to recruit and train ambassadors to work on projects needed by companies, through placements in multinational food companies such as Nestle, Metro, Pepsi, Walmart, and Tesco.

In doing so, they developed contacts and relationships with staff at those companies.

"Origin Green has allowed the Irish food industry to tell its story, to communicate what it does, and what it stands for."

"It had generated new business and customers and increased employee engagement with management."

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Photo credits to NZ Farmers Weekly