The biggest risk to Irish family farms and the broader food industry is being “called out” for “not actually living out” the premise of Origin Green in practice, according to Minister for Environment Eamon Ryan. “We cannot continue to trade under an Origin Green brand if we’re not truly green in everything we do,” he said.

The minister was adamant that “the food industry knows this” and said that the “big companies” are all committed to science-based targets where their own emissions and those of their farmer suppliers must reduce.

Minister Ryan was speaking at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) annual conference on Thursday last.

The Green Party leader described how all food processors have signed up to the same climate targets as Government – halving emissions this decade and being net zero by 2050.

“If they don’t do that and achieve that in their supply chain as well as in their operations, they know that they will not be able to raise finance for their businesses or to be able to trade and get a premium,” he said.

However, Minister Ryan suggested Irish farmers, if hitting climate targets, deserve this premium price for sustainability. “We all agree we want a family farming system. Not a big contractor. We’re not going to compete with 15,000 cattle in a feedlot outside Beijing. We’re not going to compete with the prairies of Ohio but we can actually compete as a producer of green food.”