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Jonathan English, Strategic Projects, Bord Bia – The Irish Food Board

From the 1st January 2021, the trading relationship will change between the EU and the UK regardless of whether or not there is a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between both sides. Bord Bia published the fourth edition of its Brexit Action Plan. The Action Plan provides practical information that Irish food and drink businesses can utilise in order to prepare for increased complexity in future trade with the UK.

It is positive to note that 91% of Readiness Radar respondents said they had made progress in relation to their Brexit preparedness over the past 12 months. The results show that only a small number of companies report having made no progress in the past year.

As we move towards the end of 2020, it is crucial that all Irish food and drink companies trading with the UK or using the land bridge to reach continental Europe ensure that their Brexit preparedness work carried out over the past three years is still fit for purpose. Over the course of the next three months, they must begin to activate and implement their Brexit plans.

The industry has had to withstand many shocks over the years. While an interruption event is always an immense challenge for business, dealing with the challenges such an event brings inevitably helps businesses to build resilience and be better prepared for the next curveball. Companies who embrace risk management, at a level that is sensible and appropriate to their structure and size, will invariably be able to respond faster to a crisis, and reshape and recover more quickly than those who are unprepared as the crises pass.

The following emerging risk self-assessment checklist will help you take proactive measures to ensure risks are identified and managed in an appropriate manner in order to continue trading with the UK from January 2021.

1)    Understand your risk profile.

2)    Understand your key risks, rank the risks and assign controls.

3)    Identify which risks you can control and develop appropriate strategies to manage them.

4)    Develop a risk response strategy.

5)    Assess suitable risk transfer strategies to mitigate the risk exposure.

6)    Monitor regularly to determine the progress and effectiveness of the preventative controls.

7)    Escalate the significant risks to the board or a suitable level of management.

For more information on Bord Bia’s Brexit Action Plan, please see the following link: