Interview with Arindom Datta, Rabobank

13th March 2019

To mark Bonsucro Global Week, we’ve caught up with some of the speakers to find out about their work driving a more sustainable sugarcane supply chain. Arindom Datta of Rabobank was part of the panel on Smallholders Inclusivity – read some of his insights below.

You will be speaking at the session “Smallholders: creating an inclusive supply chain”. What is Rabobank’s role in strengthening smallholder inclusivity?

Rabobank is globally the leading bank in Food and Agribusiness and the Industry ESG leader, ranked number one Sustainable Bank Worldwide by Sustainalytics. We have special products to focus on sustainability financing the F&A supply chain and inclusive supply chains is one of the key features that we focus on globally.  

Smallholders represent a core part of the many sugarcane-producing economies around the world. How can finance support their journey towards sustainability?

Finance can facilitate all agricultural supply chains. It is essential for smallholder farmers to have access to finance to support their sugarcane business and be able to invest in environmentally-friendly sustainable cane cultivation.

What are some of the challenges smallholders might face as part of their journey toward sustainable practices?

The key challenges are lack of knowledge of sustainability practices, of access to markets and to finance. These challenges are greater for smallholder farmers that are not a part of any structured supply chain. This is where Rabobank is able to help support them.

The theme of this year’s Bonsucro Global Week is ‘Scaling Impacts’. What is one outcome you’d like to see from multi-stakeholder discussions at Bonsucro Global Week to achieve sustainable sugarcane at scale?

I would like to see a firm commitment by all the supply chain players to commit to the best of class sustainability practices and to focus on inclusive and sustainable supply chains.

 

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Bonsucro & Renovabio: Exploring synergies and advancing GHG reduction in Brazil

Project partners: Earth innovation Institute and Agroicone
Project length: 12 months Budget: $22,347,79
Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals:

RenovaBio is a Brazilian biofuel policy designed to decrease Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions by 10% by 2029 [compared to 2018], in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change. It aims to do this by incentivising fuel distributors to blend more biofuels into their products. RenovaBio has established a certification scheme for biofuel, towards which Brazilian sugarcane mills are working, that will enable them to trade decarbonisation credits on the Brazilian stock exchange.

Bonsucro continuously seeks to grow awareness and adoption of its standard. In Brazil, this can be achieved by aligning its framework with RenovaBio to optimise costs and time for mills. In 2019, Bonsucro received a grant of US $22,000 from the Earth Innovation Institute to provide a common understanding of how RenovaBio works and how other regions might benefit from this approach.

Bonsucro addressed the topic at Bonsucro Global Week in Bangkok in March 2019, and through three stakeholder forums in Brazil. The Bonsucro team also commissioned a technical comparison study, which enabled the organisation to understand how best to align with RenovaBio’s requirements.

The study has been shared with key stakeholders in Brazil and the project is now complete. Bonsucro is working to incorporate the study’s findings and recommendations through its ongoing Production Standard Revision process.

By aligning opportunities of optimisation, joint work and integration with the Brazilian Government and reflecting it in the Bonsucro Standard, Bonsucro can help to ensure that more producers adopt sustainability standards like Bonsucro.