My name is David O’Flynn, and I am one of the ten Origin Green ambassadors that have been welcomed into leading sustainably-focused food and drinks companies around the world. These placements have afforded us the chance to learn from these successful global companies.

Being on the inside also provides me with an opportunity to spread the message that the Irish food and drink industry is becoming even more sustainable through the Origin Green programme.

Four weeks ago, I started at Abbott’s Nutrition plant in Cootehill, an Origin Green registered facility. My second week was at their Dutch plant in Zwolle.

Week three found me in the USA operating between Chicago and Seattle, and now in week four I am based at Columbus, Ohio, Abbott Nutrition’s U.S. commercial headquarters. This whirlwind tour has afforded me an excellent opportunity to gain an understanding of the processes at their plants, what utility efficiencies measures they have already implemented and what they plan for 2014.

Over the next five months, I will be part of a team working on a really exciting project to develop a utility excellence vision for the future that will ensure Abbott continues to reduce it’s per unit water, energy and carbon emissions, further consolidating its commitment to its sustainable vision.

The first month of my Origin Green placement with Abbott’s nutrition division has been a really great and intense learning experience. For those not particularly familiar with Abbott Nutrition, let me give you a brief introduction. Abbott Nutrition develops and markets a wide range of science-based infant formulae, medical nutritionals and related products and is committed to sustainable best practice.

Abbott employ almost 3,000 people across 11 sites in the four provinces of Ireland. At the nutrition plant in Cootehill, Co. Cavan, where they make products for the global infant market, they use approximately half a million litres of locally sourced milk per day in their manufacturing. Abbott’s dairy suppliers will be amongst the first to participate in Bord Bia’s Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme, which is based on regular independent farm audits focussing on sustainability and quality attributes.

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*David O’Flynn is currently undertaking an Origin Green Ambassador Placement with Abbott. David joined the programme following 18 years working in the areas of business development, civil, structural and environmental engineering and project management.