Teagasc and Food and Drink Industry Ireland Agree Joint Action Forum on Climate Change
Teagasc and Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII), the IBEC group that represents the food sector, have agreed to set up a joint forum on Climate Change to develop a common strategy to turn the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions into opportunities for the Irish agri-food industry.
International studies show that food production in Ireland from temperate grassland systems can have a much lower carbon footprint than food production from more intensive systems found in other countries.
However, different methodologies are used globally when evaluating carbon footprints and this can lead to a misrepresentation of Ireland’s sustainable agri-food industry. The joint forum will address the entire supply chain from farm-to-fork evaluating methodologies, promoting best practice and ensuring that Ireland’s agri-food industry is globally recognised as a highly sustainable food producer.
The importance of substantiated Climate Change information cannot be underestimated for Ireland’s most important indigenous industry which employs 230,000 jobs through direct and indirect employment. The impact on our global competitiveness is crucial for the €7bn in exports and will be a significant factor in enabling this industry to realise its full growth potential in making this €20bn industry grow to one of €30bn in the coming years.
Dr Rogier Schulte of Teagasc said: "Based on the low carbon footprint of our Irish dairy and meat products, Teagasc firmly believes that it is possible to turn the threat of reducing greenhouse gas emissions into opportunities for Irish farmers. An early and positive response will impact positively in negating the need for future top-down policy measures. But to make this happen, we need coherent and urgent action from all players in the debate including Teagasc, Government Departments and agencies, farm organisations, food processors and retailers. This joint Action Forum firmly initiates this process."
Michael Barry, FDII said: "The creation of the Joint Action Forum on Climate Change is a significant development and is essential both to protecting Ireland’s reputation as a sustainable food producer and to ensuring that Climate Change policies do not undermine Ireland’s global competitiveness.” He said that Climate Change policy should not be just about revenue collection but also about promoting the most sustainable means of food production; the growth in global population demands more food and Climate Change Policies should incentivise production in the most sustainable countries such as Ireland."
Teagasc’s International Climate Change conference will take place in the Mansion House, Dublin this Thursday and Friday, 24 and 25 June. This conference will discuss how the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions can be turned into an opportunity for Irish agri-food.