Bonsucro certifications starts Bioenergética Vale do Paracatu on sustainability journey

4th March 2020

Brazil is one of the biggest sugarcane producers and exporters in the world. In 2018, it produced 29.29 million metric tonnes of sugar, 21.26 of which were exported. With 150 active Bonsucro members, there’s strong commitment and support for sustainability in sugarcane across Brazil. Bonsucro is thrilled that Bioenergética Vale do Paracatu S/A  has achieved both the Production Standard and the Chain of Custody certifications.

Bioenergética Vale do Paracatu S/A. produces both sugar, ethanol and energy. It’s located in the northwest State of Minas Gerais of Brazil – strategically positioned in relation to local consumer markets and export routes.

The Bonsucro certification journey

The Bonsucro certification process was relatively quick for Bioenergética Vale do Paracatu – taking just 10 months. The team achieved this by reading the Production Standard Guide and using the Bonsucro calculator to prepare for the external audit, undertaken by Control Union.

Bioenergética Vale do Paracatu’s CEO, Gabriel Sustaita, was very supportive during the process. The management team and whole staff base embraced the idea and were all instrumental in making the necessary changes.

The business reports clear changes across the whole organisation. It has improved the conditions for workers and improved the safety measures. For example, health and safety procedures have become more consistent and more effective inspection methods have been created. This has resulted in a 63% reduction in accident frequency from the 2017-18 crop to the 2018-19 crop.

Franklin Asanza, the Executive Manager Supporting Corporate Control, said, “We realise that the application of some requirements for Bonsucro such as safety, product quality and environmental care perpetuate in all sectors of Bioenergetics Vale do Paracatu S / A.”

By complying with the Bonsucro Standards, Bioenergética Vale do Paracatu aims to help the agro-industrial operations to evolve. The organisation believes that work safety and product quality should be the norm.

Franklin Asanza went on to say, “Bonsucro has opened up the possibility of supplying our products to serve multinational customers in guaranteeing and committing to social, environmental and sustainable responsibility, as well as attending all stakes holders.”

Next steps

For Bioenergetica Vale do Paracatu S/A, the Bonsucro certifications are just one step in the sustainability journey. The team is already considering how to improve its commitment to sustainability across social and economic areas.

Franklin Asanza said, “After achieving Bonsucro, Bioenergetica Vale do Paracatu will focus on continuing sustainability in its sugarcane farms and developing its suppliers to reach the largest number of Bonsucro certified areas.”

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.