Bonsucro Week 2014

26th January 2017

Highlights from Bonsucro Week 2014

Since its inception, Bonsucro has held an annual event to bring together its diverse membership from around the globe. These events have taken Bonsucro to a number of countries around the world – Brazil, Puerto Rico, Australia and India, have all, amongst others, hosted Bonsucro’s annual event. 2013 saw Bonsucro’s event christened Bonsucro Week and was bound for New Orleans, in the heart of the American sugarcane industry.

For this year’s event, Bonsucro Week headed to South-east Asia – one of the largest sugarcane producing regions. Two locations in the Philippines played host to Bonsucro Week 2014 – Tagaytay and Manila. Over 30 sugarcane mills, and more than 10 refineries, are located in the Philippines. Over 100 participants from over 20 countries made for a diverse crowd, even before taking into account that everyone represented different areas of the sugarcane supply chain.

Monday 10 November

Participants gathered in the town of Tagaytay, in time for the start of the week on Monday 10 November. Tagaytay, located just 90 minutes’ drive from Manila, was a lush landscape overlooking a stunning vista of Taal Lake and the Taal Volcano Island in its centre. However, the site visits were the main activity for the first day and required a bus trip east of the town into the Batangas Province.

First stop was the sugarcane mill of Central Azucarera Don Pedro, a mill owned by Roxas Holdings, one of the largest sugarcane milling operations in the country. After an introduction to the mill and the milling process, participants were lead on a tour throughout the large complex.

The group rounded off the day with a drinks reception at the Taal Vista Hotel where the new CEO Simon Usher was able to formally welcomed everyone and introduced the Bonsucro team, all with the lake and island in full panoramic view.

View the day on Flickr. 

Tuesday 11 November

Participants spent Tuesday in the serene surroundings of Antonio’s Restaurant, a short journey from the Taal Vista Hotel. The day kicked off with a simultaneous Farmer Working Group (FWG) meeting and the End User & Intermediary Summit. Farmers from Swaziland, South Africa, El Salvador, Brazil, Australia, and many other key sugarcane-producing countries were in attendance, the FWG met to discuss the key issues facing sugarcane farmers today and to share experiences and knowledge.

End User and Intermediary members of Bonsucro convened in a joint session aimed to discuss some of the challenges encountered with supply and uptake of certified products. Members were invited to give their  views on Bonsucro’s priority markets and look at possibilities for collaboration.

The remainder of the day was devoted to two other parallel sessions. The first, the Pre-conference Sugarcane Workshop was lead by Nicolas Viart, and aimed to give non-members an introduction to Bonsucro, sustainability and focus on the opportunities of improving efficiencies to secure profitability in sugarcane production.

While this was taking place, Bonsucro members were taking part in the extensive Member Consultation session. Opened by Head of Engagement Natasha Schwarzbach, the session was designed to allow members the opportunity to have their say on Bonsucro’s activities, and for the secretariat to describe the developments and areas of focus for the organisation. Daniel Lobo reported on the benchmarking and farmer activities, whilst Manuela Czinar gave an update on Co-products and second generation ethanol. The organisation’s governance documents have been undergoing considerable assessment and change during the past year, and Rafael Seixas was on hand to present these to the audience. The final presentation before lunch came from Natasha Schwarzbach on providing concrete solutions to supply and demand issues surrounding Bonsucro certified products.

Both groups met together for a sumptuous lunch in the bright and airy main room. With full stomachs, the meetings continued.

The upcoming year brings a multitude of opportunities and challenges for Bonsucro.  CEO Simon Usher lead the consultation to collect ideas and thoughts about the organisation’s future strategy, and Bonsucro’s Board Directors were on hand to field questions from members. The leafy gardens of the restaurant were the final venue for the day at Antonio’s, where participants unwound at the drinks reception before being whisked away back to Manila.

View the day on Flickr. 

Wednesday 12 November

The Manila leg of Bonsucro Week began in earnest with a series of key meetings at the Peninsula Hotel. Licensed Certification Bodies discussed the first three years of Bonsucro certification at the CB Summit, whilst in the Market for Certified Ethanol meeting, Manuela Czinar explored the main mandates for the use of biofuels in key countries, prices and tradeflows and market diversification. Manuela also chaired the Bio Based Working Group. The opportunity for the use of sugarcane derived products other than for sugar and ethanol has grown considerably over the past few years – this Working Group aims to explore these alternative uses with regard to Bonsucro, certification and sustainability in general.

The Chain of Custody (ChoC) Standard, a key component in the Bonsucro system, is currently in the process of being revised, lead by a group of members through Standard Review Taskforce (SRT) in accordance to ISEAL guidelines. The Wednesday afternoon consultation session designed to garner stakeholders’ views of the current ChoC Standard and suggestions for improvements to be incorporated into the revised version. The feedback was varied and valuable, and will be considered by the SRT during their work to introduce a Standard that is even more relevant and effective than the current one.

View the day on Flickr. 

Thursday 13 November

The biggest day was saved until last, with the Annual Conference, the AGM, the Annual Dinner and the presentation of the Bonsucro Awards.First up was the Annual Conference, based around the theme ‘Profitability, Productivity, Sustainability: A Reality’. Speakers from diverse backgrounds were asked to share their knowledge and experiences with the audience, beginning with an introduction to the history of the Filipino sugarcane industry by Mr Fernando Corpuz of the Philippines Sugar Regulatory Administration. Mr Corpuz demonstrated the industry’s resilience in the face of many challenges.

The Keynote Speaker for 2014 was Denise Knight of the Coca-Cola Company. Denise’s long involvement with Bonsucro has given her a unique insight into the workings of the organisation, and she was able to detail the Coca-Cola Company’s use of Bonsucro as their preferred solution for a sustainable sugarcane sector.

Productivity in the Australian, Indonesian, Thai and Indian markets was the focus for the next session. Speakers from these key markets, including Dr Gopinathan, Bonsucro Ambassador, were invited to share their updates and opinions on their local markets, and was followed by a Q&A session.

Breaking news came in the form of the announcement of the first mill to be certified against the revised Production Standard (Version 4) and the first certified mill outside Brazil and Australia – Azunosa, a mill in Honduras. Gabriel Guzman of SABMiller accepted the certificate from the Certification Body – SCS Global Services.

After lunch, delegates were presented with information on profitability,  sustainability and reality. Konrad von Ritter from WEnergy assessed Climate Finance & Public Private Partnerships, whilst Harsh Vivek from International Finance Corporation gave his account of a successful implementation of the latter.

A panel representing all areas of the sugarcane supply chain addressed supply chain collaboration. Speakers from WWF, Assobari, CSC Sugar, Bacardi, EID Parry and Donovale Farm talked about the importance of supply chain actors working together to promote sustainability within the industry.

The final session of the day looked at ‘Reality’, James Primrose, Chair of the Bonsucro Board of Directors introduced speakers Laura Antoniazzi (Agroicone), Davi Araujo (Raízen) and Rafael Seixas (Bonsucro) giving their experiences and assessments of the business case for Bonsucro certification.

Closing remarks by Bonsucro Vice Chair Michel Santos brought the conference to a close and ushered in the start of the AGM. Bacardi’s poolside drinks reception started the evening’s festivities off in the Manila evening heat, before participants headed into the conservatory for the Annual Dinner.

Both the Bonsucro Sustainability Award and Bonsucro Leadership Awards were presented to their winners.

Seated around tables named after some of the Philippine’s famous islands, participants were able to round off the week in style, finishing with a flourish of traditional Filipino dancing.

View the day on Flickr. 

Bonsucro Week 2014 Sponsors

Bonsucro would like to thank the Bonsucro Week 2014 Sponsors for their generous support: