OSI’s Director of Sustainability in Europe has One Foot in Sustainability and One in Operations
January 16, 2020
Before joining OSI more than two years ago, Claire Donoghue was the site manager at a beef plant in Ireland. To be successful in her role, Claire built an intimate understanding of all facility operations. She knew what was happening with the farmers supplying the plant and their approach to proper animal welfare practices; how the workers carried out their daily responsibilities; which operations were working and which needed to be improved; and how well the plant was doing financially. This was the exact kind of experience OSI knew would provide the foundation needed for Claire to join OSI and take on the mammoth task of implementing sustainability throughout the company’s operations and supply chain in Europe.
Today, Claire is the director of the European Sustainability Team and leads the operations in Food Works, which provides high-grade meat products to customers across Europe, including OSI’s further processing division, Food Solutions. Having one foot in sustainability and one in operations means that Claire can be more effective in working towards OSI’s mission of merging sustainable practices with commercial success.
Being in operations is also part of the reason that Claire remains outcome driven. This focus on results is different than requiring specific activities or inputs as a measure of progress.
“Our focus on sustainability in all areas of the business requires us to pursue measurable positive outcomes and impacts,” said Donoghue. “These improvements are not only necessary for our competitive advantage but also for maintaining the trust of our customers and our social license to operate.”
ROLLING OUT THE NEW APPROACH TO SUSTAINABILITY IN EUROPE
Claire asserts that sustainability is not a one-size-fits-all model that can be applied to every beef plant, let alone every country in Europe. It is her mission to ensure that the EU sustainability approach and structure combines both science and communication, so OSI can collect feedback from all stakeholders and ensure they are sharing ideas and including best practices that make sense for each operation. To get everyone working towards a common goal, Claire saw the 2018 OSI Supplier Sustainability in Ireland as the perfect opportunity to launch the renewed vision and a strategy for sustainability on the continent that included OSI’s supplier stakeholders.
Bringing together the European supplier base under the banner of sustainability at the Summit proved to be an effective kickoff to OSI’s reorganized sustainability approach and structure. Claire has been able to align everyone under OSI’s sustainability priorities as a team, so each department, facility and supplier can move toward common goals. These include addressing the industry’s biggest challenges like carbon footprint, water management and responsible antibiotic use.
“A sustainable beef industry is a shared purpose,” said Donoghue. “We are only as strong as the weakest member, so we’re incentivized to collaborate and work together.”
CLAIRE’S ROLE IN THE EUROPEAN ROUNDTABLE FOR SUSTAINABLE BEEF
Since January 2019, Claire has chaired the Technical Working Group for the European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability (ERBS). The Technical Working Group is responsible for overseeing the different country platforms that comprise the ERBS and establishing recognized sustainability programs that are benchmarked to ERBS targets in each European country. As part of the country specific recognition process, the Technical Working Group is establishing country-level baselines to report progress as well as manage work plans to deliver volumes of sustainably sourced beef for customers and their sustainability goals.
Within Europe, OSI divisions have been involved as founding members of the ERBS since its establishment as a regional division of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB). Within the GRSB’s network of regional roundtables, the ERBS has uniquely established target metrics and ambitious industry goals. OSI has used these targets to structure its farmer engagement and sustainable sourcing programs in each of the ERBS country platforms where it operates, sources and carries out project work.
CLAIRE RECOGNIZED FOR HER SUSTAINABILITY LEADERSHIP IN THE BEEF INDUSTRY
While we at OSI know that Claire is playing a significant role in the beef industry in Europe, another well respected group in the industry has recognized her for that same role. Meat Business Women recently nominated Claire as one of their “2019 Women to Watch” in the industry.
Traditionally, the meat industry has been dominated by men. But Claire and the people in Meat Business Women believe that to get the best out of any industry, it is critical to have diversity. They believe that different points of view and opinions are vital for progression. The group is working to achieve greater diversity in the meat industry by developing the image, culture and landscape of the meat industry to make it more attractive to female talent. They also work to nurture new female entrants into the sector through networking, education and mentoring.
While Claire is responsible for much of the success the industry has achieved over the last few years in regards to sustainability, marching towards a common vision and driving meaningful outcomes, she credits the team and environment in which she works for much of that success as well.
“I count myself very lucky to work with the OSI team in Europe,” said Donoghue. “They are very driven and strive to be best in class, which means the entire team are very supportive of each other.”