Farmer Focus Day, Conference and AGM

In London at the end of November, over 145 people from 28 countries representing all actors of the supply chain gathered in London for three days of Bonsucro events. Nick Goodall, Chief Executive of Bonsucro opened the Farmer Focus and Standard Revision Day, Chaired by Bonsucro’s Head of Engagement, Natasha Schwarzbach. It was packed out with 60 delegates from 21 different countries and 9 farmers representing 45,500,291 farmers.  The Farmer Focus and Standard Revision Day was  supported by Rabobank.

The Conference was sponsored by Louis Dreyfus Commodities and Syngenta.
Farmer Focus Day
Farmer Day Speakers
Farmers from Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, India, South Africa and Mexico

Keynote speaker, Dave Howson of Bacardi re-stated - "Bacardi’s commitment is to have 50% of its cane derived products Bonsucro certified by 2017, and 100% by 2022." As an early adopter they are now taking the lead so they can reach their target.  He gave a personal account of his time at Bonsucro and ended his speech with a call to action -  “Doing nothing is not an option!”

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CEO Nick Goodall welcomed delegates and Chaired the morning session.  Nick introduced Tom Wareham a curator at the Museum of London who reminded delegates of the history of sugarcane and set the scene for the Bonsucro Chairman, Kevin Ogorzalek to speak about the challenges that still exist and give an insight into how Bonsucro strives to continuously improve.

Natasha Schwarzbach, Head of Engagement asked all actors of the supply chain to take delegates on a journey. The first link in the chain is the farmer and Maria Antonieta Lopez of Procaña gave an energetic presentation about how issues at the farmer level can be addressed by working with farmers by helping them to understand how you can transform a family farm into a viable business unit. 

The next link in the chain is the mill which is the unit of Bonsucro certification. Davi Araujo described how Raízen now have 5 mills certified because the company wants to demonstrate and prove that sustainability is core to their business.

Guy Hogge, Louis Dreyfus Commodities provided the audience with memorable visuals on traders perceptions of sustainability and how linking sustainability to the growth of a company is paramount to its success. Onofre Andrade of Argos Oil explained that the way commercial deals are closed can have a great impact on Chain of Custody and Argos Oil took a decision early on to buy directly from a mill to export their first Bonsucro Certified Ethanol to consumers in the Netherlands.

Fiona Wheatley, from UK’s leading and international retailer, Marks & Spencer went beyond the end-user and enthusiastically explained the proof-points that retailers need in order to demonstrate sustainable sourcing and why this is so essential in today’s business world.

A lively panel debate moderated by Meghan Sapp, editor of Sugaronline posed an opening question to the panellists “What made you or your organisation decide sustainability was important?” in opening statements from Jason Glaser - La Isla Foundation, Michel Santos – Bunge, Greg Malcolm – NSW Sugar Co-op,  Gopinathan Mambully – EID Parry, Luke Upchurch – Consumers International and Adriano Vilas Boas – Syngenta all explored the idea that sustainability is a shared responsibility across the supply chain.

The final speaker of the conference, Daan Dijk of Rabobank gave an insight on the future perspective of a bio-based economy.

Closing remarks were presented by Robert Dovlo of Cargill, who challenged delegates, “To what extent are your personal incentives aligned with sustainability?”

Bonsucro, Head of Sustainability, Nicolas Viart presented delegates with information on the  next wave of evolution for the revision of the Standard.

The AGM was attended by 41 members from our membership of 68, this is a record number of membership representation! 

Case IH sponsored the annual dinner where 100 people witnessed sugarcane farmer Robert Quirk being presented with the Bonsucro Sustainability Award.  Robert Quirk, founding member of Bonsucro and retiring Board Director was genuinely moved and delighted to receive the Award.  

The third and final day was the CB summit where 4 of the Bonsucro licenced certification bodies shared their views with Nicolas Viart and Dayse Groves.

Bringing the week to a successful conclusion, however it is only the beginning with the Standard revision underway and Bonsucro about to publish its calendar of events for 2013, it is going to be a busy year and with more than 2% of production certified we are off to a flying start!

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