SECAD Launches Free Sustainability Training Programme for Food Businesses across South and West Cork


SECAD Launches Free Sustainability Training Programme for Food Businesses across South and West Cork

Free Practical Training Programme for Small, Medium and Artisan food producers to understand and commit to more sustainable business practices.

Food Business owners across South and West Cork will be eager to sign up to SECAD Partnership CLG’s newly announced and free Sustainable Food Training Programme which kicks off next month. The programme (which has limited spaces) has been developed with Small, Medium and Artisan food (and beverage) producers in mind and aims to educate and empower these businesses in various areas where they may be experiencing challenges regarding sustainability.

Having identified challenges faced by food and beverage producers in relation to sustainability such as; sustainable sourcing and supply chain practices, packaging, energy, water and waste, consumer education, carbon emissions, renewable energy and climate change, the trainers of SECAD’s Sustainable Food Training Programme, will share expert knowledge and advice based on years of professional experience in these areas.


In line with the Global Sustainable Development Goal 12.3: “By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.” Ireland has committed, through the Food Waste Charter, to take responsibility and actions towards achieving this goal. Businesses, Industry leaders and individuals are encouraged to prioritize the prevention of Food Waste at every point within the supply chain. With that in mind, SECAD have developed this training programme which will give practical guidance to food business owners, so that they can further pursue environmentally conscious actions within their business operations.

The modules covered in the training programme will include:

  1. Sustainability – The What and The How (To include green finance and green procurement)
  2. Our Food and Our Environment
  3. Resource Efficiency (Managing energy, water and waste)
  4. Climate Change – Measure your Carbon Footprint
  5. Communication – Engaging the Marketplace – Understanding Consumer Behaviour and Sustainable Consumption
  6. Circular Economy Proposition Design
  7. Managing Food Waste
  8. Building a Sustainability Culture – Engaging Employees & Suppliers
  9. Packaging, Storage, Transport & Distribution: Sustainable Supply Chain Design
  10. Design Thinking, Innovation & Sustainability

Speaking about the launch of this new training programme, Assistant CEO of SECAD Suzanne Kearney said:

Globally, more than one quarter of food produced is wasted, with food loss and waste contributing 8 to 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Now, more so than ever before, it is vital that we all do our level best in being as sustainable as possible, and we here at SECAD are committed to doing just that. We are delighted to see such a high level of interest in this training programme so far. It will be undeniably beneficial to food and beverage businesses to enable them to become more sustainable, resilient and to gain competitive advantage in the market. This will also have a positive knock-on effect in their communities and the food producing sector in the region. The content of the training programme will be delivered by leading experts in their respective areas, and we are thrilled to have such talented and experienced industry professionals onboard.”


Experienced trainers on the course will include professionals from SustHub; one of Ireland’s leading Corporate Sustainability and Circular Economy companies, The Clean Technology Centre (CTC) based at Munster Technological University; providing consultancy to organisations in all key areas of sustainability, and finally Change by Degrees; a sustainability consultancy with over 20 years international experience in climate and environment strategy, communications and employee and customer engagement.  

This programme will run from April 2021 to November 2021(with a break across July and August) and attendees will take part in the following:

  • 10 x 3-hour training modules (delivered online)
  • Site visits to businesses considered to be pursuing best practice in the area of sustainability and/or resource efficiency (subject to COVID 19 government restrictions)
  • One to one training as relevant to their business needs
  • Networking opportunities with food businesses

The closing date to sign up for this free course is Monday the 5th of April 2021, with training starting on Wednesday the 14th of (South Cork) and Friday the 16th (West Cork). Places are limited and business owners are encouraged to log on to to register for a place now. #SustainableFood

Companies that wish to participate in this training programme must satisfy the following criteria:

The Sustainable Food Training Programme South & West Cork is funded under The LEADER Food initiative which is jointly managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Approvals for the awards of funding under this initiative are made by Cork County Council’s LEADER Local Action Groups which are a subgroup of the Local Community Development Committees. (LCDCs)


SECAD Partnership CLG (SECAD) is a Local Development Company established in 1995. SECAD has two main development objectives; promoting and enabling (i) Rural Development and (ii) Social Inclusion within the communities of South, East and West Cork.  SECAD delivers a range of local and community development programmes including LEADER 2014-2020, the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme, the Rural Social Scheme, Tus, PEIL 2014-2020, ERASMUS + and others.

LEADER 2014-2020 is funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development- Europe Investing in Rural Areas.

SECAD’s mission is to provide a range of innovative and effective rural development and social inclusion supports to motivate and enable communities to create a more vibrant, sustainable and inclusive society. Their vision is to be a leading European community development organisation delivering exceptional service to clients and promoting innovative collaborations to address issues of disadvantage and sustainability with their public, private, academic and community partners. As a local development company, SECAD works with a range of different clients and stakeholders in rural areas including: community and voluntary groups, disadvantaged target groups, job seekers, businesses (including private and social enterprise), farmers, schools and the corporate sector.

SECAD has evolved as an organisation managing a single funding programme into a platform managing a wide range of funds and services including, social investment and employment support programmes implemented on behalf of a number of Irish Government Departments and State Bodies. SECAD currently delivers a number of major programmes along with other smaller schemes and initiatives. See an overview of under the ‘Programmes & Funds’ tab of this website. For more information visit


Trainer Profiles

SustHub, a ClearStream Solutions Business

SustHub is a training division of Clearstream Solutions, one of Ireland’s leading Corporate Sustainability and Circular Economy companies. Although the process of Carbon Management and Sustainability training is relatively immature in Ireland, Clearstream has built up a strong local and international client base and has extensive knowledge and expertise in this specialist area over the past 12 years. We have a panel of both internal and external consultants who have completed many similar consulting and training projects.

Recognition - Clearstream has won the Green Small Organisation Award at the Irish National Green Awards, the EnviroCom Special Merit Category award and we were also awarded the Dublin Chamber Sustainable Business Challenge (SME). ClearStream is also a member of the Enterprise Ireland Green Service Providers.

Clients - Clearstream Solutions works with many industry leaders in Ireland including Mercury, Keelings, Kingspan, RDS, United Drug, ESB, Butlers, BOI and Gas Networks to implement sustainability best practice in their organisations and supply chains. In addition, we support the global operations of a number of multinational organisations including Microsoft, Flex, Cisco, Vodafone, Symantec, Honeywell, GE, and Bertelsmann.

Experience - The Clearstream team, and its partners, have delivered numerous internal and external training programs on the topic of sustainability since being established in 2009. Clearstream Solutions is the Irish partner of the global CDP organisation (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project). In cooperation with CDP, Clearstream manage the CDP Ireland Network, a group set up to support, train and encourage the development of corporate sustainability through the disclosure of Climate Change policy and carbon emissions performance. Clearstream has delivered numerous training courses, reports and workshops covering a range of Sustainability, Circular Economy and Carbon Management subjects as part of its global client engagements. It also provides coordination and project management services to a number of clients on their sustainability projects and is the secretariat for the CDP Ireland Network.


SustHub Trainer profiles

Brian O’ Kennedy

Brian is a co-founder of SustHub, and as CEO of Clearstream Solutions, he has over 20 years’ experience in sustainability, global supply chain management and procurement particularly in the areas of IT, Media, Print and Packaging. Brian has a degree in Economics from Trinity College Dublin and Certification in Sustainable Management/Training from BSI Group. He has delivered numerous local and international training programs on Sustainability and the Circular Economy, including as a trainer and advisor on the creation of DCC’s own MODOS programme. He is currently studying Circular Economy at TU Delft.

Dr Declan Bogan

Declan is co-founder of SUSTHUB and CEO of innovate2zero ( a strategy, innovation and sustainability consultancy business. Working with over 100 organisations, on multiple engagements, Dr Declan Bogan has been immersed in the world of innovation, systems and design thinking across all areas of business at strategic, product portfolio, human, service, process, customer experience and total proposition levels From the bench to the boardroom, with micro to multinational organisations, Declan has worked internationally and locally with senior leaders and executives in Fortune 500 global household brand names across the total value ecosystem as they look to evolve their proposition. He has also mentored and coached many start-ups on their business proposition evolution, all with a sustainability/climate focus. He has a particular interest in the employee as stakeholder. He ran the ClimateKIC accelerator in 2018 for 13 sustainability focused startups. He has a qualification in the circular economy from TU Delft.

The Clean Technology Centre (CTC), MTU

The Clean Technology Centre is an independent, not for profit organisation established within Munster Technological University and has been providing innovative and effective resource efficiency solutions since established in 1992. The team at the Clean Technology Centre have a proven track record and varied experience in research, technical environmental analysis and reporting, behaviour change, public engagement, training and communication.

Experience - CTC’s work in resource efficiency approaches and research has been highly acclaimed and has driven national and regional programmes and methodologies. CTC has managed 3 key NWPP Resource Efficiency Programmes between 2018 and 2020 (Green Business Programme, Green Hospitality Programme and Green Healthcare Programme). CTC has successfully carried out over 100 national and international, pure and applied environmental research projects since its inception - both individually and with over 120 partners from 31 countries. CTC has also worked directly with 25 Irish local authorities, provided assistance to 50 Irish hospitals and worked with over 300 Irish companies, through its own consultancy activities and in its past role in the Green Business Programme. CTC has assisted 12 companies in the implementation and certification of their environmental management systems to ISO 14001.

Clients - public sector bodies, local authorities, semi-state organisations, business and industry, tourism and hospitality, the waste management industry and others.

CTC Trainer profiles

James Hogan, Programme Manager, CTC

James Hogan is an environmental scientist and environmental consultant with the Clean Technology Centre since 1995. James has managed a number of national resource efficiency programmes which include the Green Business Programme, the Green Hospitality Programme, and the Savour Food Programme. He currently manages the “Going Green” programme for the LEO office in Longford which is providing resource efficiency advice and mentoring to 31 micro businesses in the midlands. James has delivered training to business on sustainability issues for 15 years through the programmes outlined, including the Green Business Programme which hosted regional resource efficiency seminars which attracted a wide range of business sectors and technology suppliers to discuss developments in resource efficiency, with a focus on energy and water efficiencies and waste prevention. He has hosted close to 100 seminars for businesses on the resource efficiency and cost savings. James has developed and delivered a resource efficiency module over the last 8 years for Tourism and Hospitality students at CIT. As a qualified Energy Auditor under the AEE he has carried out resource efficiency assessments for over 200 businesses.

Dr Colum Gibson, CTC

Colum Gibson is an environmental chemist who has worked with CTC for 18 years. He has extensive experience working with industry, the waste sector, LAs and communities. Colum has worked with a wide range of organisations, in terms of size and sector, through a variety of resource efficiency-based projects both in Ireland and abroad. Colum is currently involved in several national programmes including Green Seafood Business, the Local Authority Prevention Network and is the project leader of the EPA’s Stop Food Waste programme. He is also programme manager of the EPA’s Food Waste Charter business programme and co-manages the HSE’s Green Healthcare programme which involves work on water conservation, food waste reduction and energy efficiency. Colum is the project leader of an EPA research project looking at assessing and quantifying the reuse sector in Ireland and led the recent research project on reducing commercial food waste in Ireland. Throughout these projects Colum has been involved in producing reports, communication materials and the development of case studies. Through these projects Colum has been directly involved in the development and delivery of a variety of environmentally focused training programmes targeting SMEs.

Keelin Tobin

Keelin has been an Environmental Researcher at CTC since 2017. Formerly, she was the Coordinator of Cork Food Policy Council and continues to sit on the steering committee. Keelin leads the social media and online engagement of Stop Food Waste and is a consultant for Savour Food, a business focused project offering direct support to food service businesses. She is a trained and experienced Chef, recipient of the Young Chef Award at the 2012 Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery at Oxford University. She lectures to Culinary Arts students in the Department of Tourism and Hospitality. Keelin worked on the national commercial food waste research, participating in approximately 30 food waste audits in restaurants, canteens and retail sectors. She has contributed to the development of several food sustainability publications (e.g. the Stop Food Waste Seasonal Foods Calendar (2020), Less Food Waste More Profit (2019), the Food Waste Resource Pack for Home Economics (2019) and the Stop Food Waste Pocket Guide (2018)). She has extensive experience conducting on-site food waste assessments, presenting at seminars and conferences, carrying out research and writing reports. Keelin has an MA in Anthropology of Food, a Master of Business degree and a degree in International Development and Food Policy.

Change by Degrees

Change by Degrees is a sustainability consultancy with over 20 years international experience in climate and environment strategy, communications and employee and customer engagement. Our consultancy services enable businesses to grow better, by responding effectively to the increasing demand for sustainable business practice, through workshops, SDG mapping, strategy development and best practice policy guidance. We bring environmental sustainability and climate change know how to your business to help you assess climate risk, build resilience, secure supply chains, attract and retain staff, respond to changing regulations and communicate your impact with legitimately. Our tailored advice and communications planning will increase employee loyalty and productivity and ultimately reduce business costs. Change by Degrees have delivered training and workshops to businesses in Ireland on all aspects of sustainability policy and strategy, employee education and engagement and on reporting and communications. We tailor our training services to each clients’ needs and industry.

Clients – Change by Degrees clients include Musgrave, the National Treasury Management Agency, Gas Networks Ireland, Ervia, Irish Water, Poppulo, Dept of the Taoiseach, Depart of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Cork City Council, SECAD, and the Blue Haven Collection.

Recognition – Change by Degrees are Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awardees 2018 and were shortlisted for the Women Mean Business Awards and the Cork Chamber Digital Awards in 2019. We are members of the Enterprise Ireland Green Service Providers.


Change by Degrees Trainer profiles

Dr Tara Shine

Dr Tara Shine spent 20 years as an international climate change negotiator and adviser to governments and world leaders on environmental policy. She was Special Adviser to the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice and The Elders before setting up Change by Degrees, a sustainability consultancy based in Kinsale, Co. Cork. Tara is Chair of the Board of the International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED) and a member of faculty and lead facilitator for the visibility stream of Homeward Bound, a global leadership programme for women in science. She is author of ‘How to Save Your Planet One Object At A Time’ published in April 2020 by Simon and Schuster. Tara has also recently been appointed as the co-facilitator of the Structured Expert Dialogue of the Second Periodic Review under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).Tara is a science communicator and TV presenter and will present the 2020 Royal Institution Christmas Lecture.

Madeleine Murray

Madeleine Murray spent six years in academia tutoring, teaching, writing and researching as an Archaeologist in the School of Archaeology UCD and the National Museum of Ireland. She also worked for years as an Archaeological Manager in the private sector. She is expert in employee sustainability engagement, narrative crafting and messaging and is passionate about making complex information accessible, helping businesses to create and tell their sustainability stories. Madeleine has a Diploma in UX Design making her the first Irish sustainability adviser to use sustainability and UX as a problem solving tool for business. She was winner of the 2020 Emerging New Business Award at Network Cork. Madeleine is also a successful entrepreneur and businesswoman holding several company directorships, one of which was incubated on the High Potential Start Up Course in The Rubicon Centre, C.I.T.