SECAD Sustainable Food Training Programme

SECAD’s Sustainability for Food and Drink Businesses programme aims to provide practical training support to food and drink businesses wishing to pursue more environmentally conscious actions within their business operations. The programme has been designed and developed in collaboration with our expert delivery partners, The Clean Technology Centre (MTU), SustHub and Change by Degrees and is delivered through a series of live online workshops, one-2-one training opportunities and case study site visits to explore best practice in action. By adopting this holistic approach, participants are supported to identify practical and achievable solutions which address sustainability challenges such as:

  • sustainable sourcing & supply chain practices
  • packaging, energy, water & waste
  • consumer education
  • carbon emissions, renewable energy & climate change

The programme targets food and drink businesses located within South and West Cork. Invaluable support is also provided to those considering taking the first steps towards achieving accredited sustainability status under programmes such as Bord Bia’s Origin Green Programme and BIM’s Green Seafood Business Programme.

Programme Overview

In today’s competitive business landscape, sustainability and authentic green credentials are no longer ‘nice to haves’, but ‘must haves’. Business owners are now accountable for their financial, social, and environmental responsibilities and the legacy they wish to leave in our world. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals reinforce the responsibility of food businesses across the production and supply chain to feed the world sustainably and reduce their environmental footprint. But how can business owners make practical and cost-efficient changes to help achieve this?

Participants are invited to join our expert trainers to explore the why, the what, the how, the when and the where of sustainability. Through participating in the programme, they can gain a clearer understanding of how their businesses can play a role in addressing issues such as climate change, carbon, stakeholder engagement, resource efficiency, value generation, design thinking and the circular economy. They learn how to develop action plans which will drive sustainability performance while also identifying greener and potentially more cost-effective methods of production and distribution. They also learn practical, affordable tips, tools and skills and can avail of tailored business supports that they can apply immediately in their businesses.

Training is fully funded under the LEADER Food Initiative, part of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.

Running from September 2021 – Summer 2022, this training programme includes:

  • 10 x 2-hour, live and interactive, online workshops which gives participants a more in-depth understanding of sustainability issues relevant to the food sector and provides practical tools for developing and implementing sustainability action plans.
  • The opportunity to avail of tailored ‘one-2-one’ on-site/virtual training with our expert trainers who provide support unique to each business’ needs.
  • Case study site visits to experience best-practice sustainability/resource efficiency in action (Covid restrictions permitting)
  • Networking and collaboration opportunities

Live, online workshops run fortnightly from 10.00 am – 12.00 pm on designated days. Modules covered in the training programme include:

  • Sustainability – The What and The How (to include green finance and green procurement)
  • Our Food and Our Environment
  • Resource Efficiency (managing energy, water and waste)
  • Climate Change – Measure your Carbon Footprint
  • Communication – Engaging the Marketplace – Understanding Consumer Behaviour and Sustainable Consumption
  • Managing Food Waste
  • Packaging, Storage, Transport & Distribution: Sustainable Supply Chain Design
  • Building a Sustainability Culture – Engaging Employees & Suppliers
  • Circular Economy Proposition Design
  • Design Thinking, Innovation & Sustainability

Eligibility Criteria

One-to-One Training Support

This programme is designed to support artisan, micro, small and medium sized food and drink and businesses wishing to improve or implement sustainable practices.

To qualify, participants should be:

  • Based within South and West Cork (with priority given to those located in SECAD’s South and West Cork LEADER areas)
  • An established food/drink business already trading or in the process of registration
  • Committed to attending the online workshops in order to avail of the one-to-one training supports

In addition to the online workshops, the programme offers tailored one-2-one support (either on-site or virtually) which focus on the specific needs of each business and to review sustainability goals. Our delivery partners have significant expertise in working directly with client companies across multiple sectors. They work closely with business owners/key staff to assess existing practices and identify solutions that enable them to achieve their sustainability goals and improve resource efficiency. A key outcome of the one-2-one training is the development of an action plan for the business where the business will agree on a number of “key projects” that could be further analysed and costed.


Further details on the programme can be found in the programme handbook or by contacting:

T: 021 461 3432.