Denis Dempsey

Responding to the climate change and biodiversity crisis is becoming very much centre stage for us all and something we are very passionate about, so we thought we’d take some time to talk about what’s going on from our perspective and what kind of sustainability activities we are involved in as a small business. We’d love to hear your feedback about things you’re doing or initiatives you’ve seen in your business or community.

There’s been a flurry of activity recently in relation to climate and the environment with the release of 4th National Biodiversity plan 2023-2030 with Minister Noonan’s opening comment ‘Nature is in trouble’, summing the current state of our flora and fauna in Ireland including our honey and wild bees (Plan can be found here https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/93973-irelands-4th-national-biodiversity-action-plan-20232030/ ).

There was also the release of Environmental Protection Agency assessment of Climate Change impact in Ireland ( https://www.epa.ie/our-services/monitoring–assessment/climate-change/irelands-climate-change-assessment-icca/ ). We’re not doing too well here either and reading the various summaries, we are going to fall well short of 2030 goals set for 51% reduction in our carbon emissions per Ireland’s Climate Act.

It can all feel overwhelming, so what can we do ourselves in business – In Kinsale Mead, our main sustainability focus is around using the Bord Bia Origin Green framework to reduce our waste, water, energy and packaging footprint and we get third party certified each year based on our progress and we are current Gold member certified. Any food or drink business in Ireland should consider this program (www.origingreen.ie). It’s a lot of work but you can start small and build out each year – at this point, we just all need to start taking some action.

We are also members of the National Biodiversity Data Centre’s pollination plan and for us, this is all the threats to bees, not just honey bees but all the other solitary bees and bumble bees and educating people about what they can do in their community. (https://biodiversityireland.ie/ is a great resource for all aspects of pollinator friendly practices).

Our third area is in relation to sustainable tourism and we are members of the Sustainable Travel Ireland network (https://www.sustainabletourismnetwork.ie/ ) and last week we attended their annual conference in Galway which was a fantastic networking opportunity to meet like-minded people and share ideas and learnings. Three inspiring talks I’d like to call out are the Maharees Heritage and Conservation group in Kerry, Common Knowledge social enterprise group in Co Clare and Colm O’ Regan and his book ‘ A hypocrite’s guide to saving the planet’.

We’ll share more on the specifics we are doing in future update and some learnings we are finding from our own journey to reducing our carbon footprint as a business and having a positive influence on reducing biodiversity loss.