Those who produce and love what they do think day and night about the best ways to take their product to the market. If you are in the sugarcane business, the main differentiation today is undoubtedly Bonsucro Certification.
The Bonsucro seal has been established since 2008, as of the creation of a non-profit multi-stakeholder association that brings together various actors interested in the sustainable production of sugarcane and its derivatives. The technical experts who created the Bonsucro standards worked in agricultural production, industrial production (mills), social field, and certification. The latter was headed by FoodChain ID, formerly known as Cert ID.
Sugarcane is estimated to occupy more than 25 million hectares of land on the planet. In Brazil alone, the world’s largest producer of sugarcane, there are more than 8 million hectares, which produced 633.26 million tons in the 2017/2018 harvest, according to Conab (National Supply Company).
Bonsucro was created due to the increased demand for sugarcane products, along with the growing number of consumers and entities concerned with sustainability. Such concerns can affect both the customer’s choice in front of the supermarket shelf and the business decisions of big national and international players.
Market Giants Already Require Certified Sugarcane
Food market giants such as The Coca-Cola Company and Unilever are some of the companies that have the target, by 2020, of purchasing only sugar with sustainable production certificates. In 2016, 32.2% of the sugar purchased from Brazilian suppliers of Coca-Cola Brazil was already certified.
Unilever’s global strategy encourages investment in businesses that contribute to the development of countries and communities. The company’s Sustainability Plan establishes a commitment that by 2020 100% of the agricultural raw material purchased will be sustainable, using verifications and certifications – that is, obtaining it from partners that comply with benchmark criteria of environmental management and social responsibility.
Sustainability Without Losing Sight of Economic Viability
The are many challenges faced by the association, which is headquartered in London and includes organizations such as WWF and companies such as Coca-Cola, Shell and Cargill.
Issues such as soil degradation, biodiversity conservation, control of greenhouse gas emissions and the use of pesticides are recurring.
In addition, it is necessary to take into account the social context of each country, which leads to include in the agenda themes such as child or forced labor, sensitive and worrisome issues.
To address these various contexts, Bonsucro has developed a transparent standard which “promotes measurable improvements in the main environmental and social impacts of sugarcane.”
From a perspective of achieving sustainability, it is essential not to lose sight of the economic viability of production. The 69 indicators of the Bonsucro standard include issues such as property rights to land, safety, labor rights, energy and health.
The Pathway to Certification
Obtaining the Bonsucro seal means being closer to, for example, Asian and European markets. The mill itself can define the sugarcane supply area to be certified; that is, initially, it does not have to be all the raw material processed. The scope can be extended over time.
After that, the mill and farmers must implement the practices in accordance with the Bonsucro standard. Then there will be the steps of document auditing and auditing of agricultural production and industrial processing. At that moment, the producer and the mill will be able to rely on the entire FoodChain ID experience in Bonsucro certification. The metric standard developed by Bonsucro proposes measurable and result-oriented goals. It may require some effort in the beginning, but in the medium and long terms it should result in savings and reduction of waste of raw material and energy, for example.
It is important to remember that growing sustainably in today’s world is the safest way to a long and prosperous life in the increasingly global market.
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