Corbion launches its new PLA bioplastics produced from Bonsucro certified sugarcane

14th September 2017

The first batch of Bonsucro certified sugar for production of Corbion PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) was delivered last month to the Total Corbion site in Rayong, Thailand. For the first time, PLA biopolymer resins made from Bonsucro certified sugarcane are commercially available.

Corbion, headquartered in Gorinchem, the Netherlands, is a leading producer of PLA polymers and lactide monomers. As part of its 50/50 joint venture with Total (‘Total Corbion’), Corbion has constructed a lactic acid polymerisation plant in Rayong, Thailand. PLA is a biobased and biodegradable plastic produced with renewable biomass feedstocks like sugarcane, offering an alternative to fossil-based plastics. Using Bonsucro certified cane sugar as a feedstock, sugar is converted to lactic acid through fermentation, which in turn is used as a base for bio-based innovations, such as PLA bioplastic pellets. PLA pellets are used in a broad range of applications, such as packaging, consumer goods and automotive components.

Total Corbion’s Senior Marketing Director, François de Bie, highlighted the benefits that sugarcane-derived bioplastics can bring: “A reduced carbon footprint and the multiple end-of-life solutions that PLA offers are key reasons why many brand owners convert from traditional plastics to PLA bioplastics.” Such credentials suggest some of the reasons behind the continuous growth of the bioplastics market. “With the Bonsucro certification, we now offer our customers the guarantee that the biomass used to produce PLA was grown supporting the principles of sustainable agriculture”.

Total Corbion are investing in the bioplastics industry in Thailand and are sourcing their raw materials from Mitr Phol, the Thailand-based mill group with two Bonsucro certified mills. The innovative portfolio is the result of continuous improvement and commitment towards sustainable sourcing, recently outlined in a whitepaper published by the company.

The whitepaper highlights Total Corbion’s position regarding feedstock sourcing and selection for bioplastics, land use, feedstock efficiency and food security. In addition, Corbion have developed and implemented their own sugarcane Code of Conduct for their suppliers, based on Bonsucro’s definitions for sustainable sugarcane and derived products.

The future of PLA looks sweet, as Total and Corbion contribute to the growth of Bonsucro certified sugarcane production in Asia.

Want to learn more?

  • Bonsucro: To find out more about Chain of Custody certification please contact Sonia Slavinski
  • Corbion:  To contact Corbion about the certification process or about purchasing certified product, please contact Diana Visser.
  • Mitr Phol: Contact Mitr Phol Dan Chang mill or Phukhieo mill.

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.