Sustainability is very important to us at Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers. We are certified Origin Green producers by An Bord Bia, Ireland’s Food Board. Origin Green certification is given to food producers in Ireland that operate in an environmentally conscious way. Here are the current sustainability targets that we have set in conjunction with Origin Green, aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals initiative:
- Raw Material Sourcing: Milk Purchase from within 25 km, none from Zero grazed livestock. Farmers engaged ‘Open Source’ sustainability program
- Energy Reduction: By December 2019 absolute energy kWh per kilogram of cheese reduced by 8%
- Emissions Reduction: Source electricity from renewable generation. Reduce total CO2 emissions by 5%
- Water Reduction: Water usage reduction 50%
- Waste Reduction: Replace conventional plastic tray pack with environmentally sustainable plastic material
- Health And Nutrition target: To reduce and maintain salt content in finished Cashel Blue Cheese by 13% (target 2%)
- Social & Community Sustainability: Support and grow the level of social commitment through local events, school visits and student work placements. Fund national and overseas community projects. Staff work-life balance to be respected in scheduling.
In 2015, the United Nations (UN) introduced the Global Sustainable Development Goals; a set of 17 ambitious goals that cover a wide range of issues setting out a roadmap for governments and industry to move towards a fairer and more sustainable future for all by 2030. As a programme, Origin Green aligns itself with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and members of Origin Green can align their own sustainability plans with this global agenda.
Here is a short video highlighting the Origin Green initiative:
We aim to minimize our impact on the environment through purchasing materials with the lowest environmental footprint. We request Forestry Sustainable Certified cardboard for boxes with more than 70% recycled pulp content. Plastic material for cheese trays are PVC free, made from 80% recycled rPET material, white in colour and can be locally recycled (dependant on service providers). Aluminium foil is from 30% recycled material and can be recycled an infinite number of times. Recycled aluminium uses only 5% of the energy required to produce new aluminium from bauxite ore. We are still not content with our current achievements. We keep working to improve further and are currently looking to reduce total plastic use per kilo of cheese packed, and to increase recycled content within the materials.
A reed bed system means our water management is environmentally sustainable. We recently expanded the dairy, and built our own water treatment plant. Here’s a short clip of Louis Clifton Brown, our systems man, talking about how it works. (video courtesy of UTV’s ‘Rare Breed’)
Biodiversity and Wildlife
Our cheeses are the produce of a 200-acre farm and, in order to ensure the continuing health of the farmland and the environment, we dedicate 20% of the farm to biodiversity. We have nature corridors throughout the farm, and plant woodland groves and hedgerows. This allows wildlife to flourish in communion with a busy working farm. Our hedgerows are carefully re-laid in the traditional manner, creating a welcoming habitat for birds and small wildlife, as well as giving shelter to the Cashel Blue girls (our cows) on a wet and windy day. Every twenty years we undertake an intensive replanting programme of native, deciduous trees.