It’s not just what we do that matters, but how we do it

At Ornua we aim to ensure that the principles of sustainability which exist on-farm are incorporated throughout our supply chain. We have continued to drive efficiency improvements at all of our processing facilities and work with our stakeholders to enhance their sustainability efforts.

‘Our Way Matters’ is Ornua’s approach to sustainability, developed to demonstrate our commitment to social and environmental initiatives to our stakeholders.

Our Way of Farming

2015 was an historic year for the Irish dairy industry. The removal of EU milk quotas in April signalled the first opportunity for significant growth in the production of Irish dairy in 30 years. Long before milk quotas were introduced in 1984, Irish dairy farmers were farming sustainably. While this post-quota environment will bring much change to the Irish dairy industry, our commitment to sustainability will remain at the core of our practices.

Irish dairy farmers’ ongoing commitment to maintaining the highest global standards in sustainability and milk quality enables Ornua to successfully build markets for dairy products around the world. We are proud to bring the unique story of Irish dairy farming to customers and consumers all over the world. The way we farm impacts our products and, at Ornua, we recognise that throughout our business, our way of farming matters.

Our Way of Operating

Across Ornua sites worldwide, we are continuously improving our practices to reduce environmental impact. Our approach to continuous improvement ensures we mitigate the impact our business has on the environment while simultaneously driving efficiencies. Through this process we have recognised that our way of operating matters.

Using Ornua’s “Sustainability Performance Indicators” we regularly assess the performance of all of our global sites and benchmark these against industry best practice. Throughout 2015 we have continued to implement projects to minimise our impact on the environment. Some of the highlights include:

  • Zero waste to landfill at Adams Foods Limited
  • ESOS compliance at all Ornua UK sites
  • ISO 50001 compliance at Ornua Deutschland
  • 20% reduction in water consumption at Ornua Ingredients UK
  • 15% reduction per tonne in electricity consumption at Ornua Deutschland

Our Way of Supporting

As a co-operative, our structure differs from other businesses. We work on behalf of the entire dairy industry and repatriate our profits back to our members. We also work in conjunction with industry bodies and charity partners to empower them to make progress on their sustainability goals. We recognise that supporting industry and local organisations is a key part of how we can deliver value to our stakeholders, and as such, our way of supporting matters.

Some of the initiatives and organisations supported in 2015 included:

  • NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards
  • AgriAware – Irish agri-food educational body
  • Bord Bia Origin Green Ambassador Programme
  • Animal Health Ireland
  • The National Dairy Council
  • Macra na Feirme – young Irish farmers organisation
  • Grocery Aid
  • American Youth Soccer Organisation
  • Developing World Fund support for Aidlink and Vita

Natural Advantage

Ireland’s temperate climate and abundant rainfall provide ideal conditions for sustainable dairy farming. Irish dairy cows can graze on lush green pastures for 300 days per year. It is this grass-based production system that makes Ireland the most carbon-efficient milk producer in the EU.

Measurement and Continuous Improvement on Farm

Ireland’s national Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme:

  • Independently audits each Irish dairy farm every 18 months
  • Assessing 170 criteria including hygiene, biodiversity, animal welfare and the environment
  • Every Irish dairy farm is in the process of being carbon-footprinted identifying areas for further improvement

Kerrygold Park

To complement our continuous improvement programme at our existing processing sites we have incorporated an Energy Efficient Design Programme into the development of our new facility, Kerrygold Park. Kerrygold Park is being built to an exemplar standard and incorporates a number of sustainability features including:

  • On-site electricity generation
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Electric vehicle charge points
  • Co-located with raw material producer
  • Natural vegetation to enhance biodiversity
  • Built using locally-sourced, sustainable building materials

Origin Green

Origin Green is an independently-assessed, sustainable development programme for the food and drinks industry in Ireland, managed by Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board. As part of the Origin Green Process, companies must write a five year sustainability plan and report to Bord Bia on their progress annually. Ornua was the first dairy company to achieve Origin Green accreditation. We have worked to support our members on their Origin Green journey and today 100% of our members are participating in Origin Green. Since starting on our Origin Green journey Ornua Ireland has:

  • Reduced electricity consumption by 22%
  • Switched from oil to gas heating
  • Installed flow reduction fittings to reduce water consumption, achieving a decrease in consumption of 22%

Training and Development

At Ornua, we recognise that our staff are critical to our future success. In past years we have invested in building our in-house capabilities to empower our teams to reach their full potential and deliver on their business objectives.

This year saw the introduction of Bloom, an online best-in-class system which will enable us to move some of our staff development processes, including performance management, learning and development, succession planning and career pathing, to a more dynamic platform.

Lunch and Learn

Throughout 2015 we continued to provide insights into different business functions through our lunch and learn programme such as presentations on doing business in Africa and the Middle East, Brand Development, our Developing World Fund and much more.

Kerrygold Mile

At Ornua in Dublin and Moorepark, the third annual Kerrygold Mile took place in December 2015. Staff from all around our business spent the months of November and December training for our “Kerrygold Mile” challenge which culminated in a one mile fun run or walk for staff followed by our traditional Christmas lunch.

All Ornua factories achieved Grade A status in BRC Global Standards.


In a time of ever-increasing risk of food fraud, significant time, resources and programmes have been developed to ensure Ornua’s supply chain is sufficiently robust to protect against risk. Throughout 2015 significant group technical support was provided in new integration developments, subsidiary builds and joint ventures in Ornua Ingredientes España, Kerrygold Park, Ornua Saudi Arabia and Ornua’s Nigerian operation respectively.

In 2015 all Ornua subsidiary factories retained the Grade A status in BRC Global Standard, as well as ensuring all major retail, ingredient and foodservice customer accreditations were maintained and improved upon. We have instigated additional collaboration projects with member suppliers to ensure that we continue to improve our quality standards and meet our customers’ increasing expectations worldwide.