Ingenio San Antonio becomes first Bonsucro certified mill in Nicaragua

1st February 2017

We’re very pleased to announce that Ingenio San Antonio, a sugarcane mill in Nicaragua, has achieved certification against the Bonsucro Production & Chain of Custody Standards. The mill, part of Nicaragua Sugar Estates Limited (NSEL), is the first in Nicaragua to receive Bonsucro certification. Congratulations to all who were involved in the achievement.

Why did NSEL go for Bonsucro Certification?

According to Carlos Pellas, Chairman of the SER Holding Co, owner of Nicaragua Sugar Estates, the decision to go for Bonsucro certification was a natural one for the company: “In its 125 years of operations as a leading company in Central America, NSEL has always had the culture and commitment to implement best practices and available technologies in the sugar industry, and has always been committed to the development of the social, economic and environmental sustainability of its region of influence. Notwithstanding, we wanted to have an external sustainability assessment of our production system.”

To get to the position where certification was possible required support from across the business: “The involvement of the internal organisation of the company in all its different areas was very important”, said Noel Sacasa, Agroindustrial Director. “We would especially like to thank Mr. Carlos Pellas, who in a continuous way motivates us to improve our processes, particularly in the area of sustainability, social responsibility and innovation.”

Improving Performance

Ingenio San Antonio was able to make use of tools such as the Bonsucro Calculator and the Production Standard to improve the performance of the mill and its supplying farms. “The Bonsucro Calculator in particular played a part in the process”, says Gustavo Robleto, Agricultural Researcher, “it gave us a methodology based on a metric system that facilitates a measurable and manageable way to obtain continuous improvements and the sustainable development of the company.”

The Bonsucro certification forms part of an organisation-wide drive to examine business processes and find ways to improve: “This certification represents an ongoing challenge for the organisation as a whole. In this case, all of our business areas have been certified, as a way to ensure systematic processes of continuous improvement throughout the company” explains Alvaro Bermudez, Administrative Director.

“Our company has always been involved in developing best practices, which includes obtaining different certifications of our production processes and environmental practices, and has developed a rich experience in its relations with the community. All of this, which is developed under sustainability guidelines, has greatly facilitated the work that was done to obtain Bonsucro Certification.”

Next Steps

NSEL & Ingenio San Antonio have indicated that they are not only committed to continuous improvement, but to demonstrating leadership so others can follow in their footsteps. The Executive Director, Ricardo Barrios, said “We would like to maintain the standards obtained through Bonsucro certification and to find new ways to improve them. We would like to share experiences and examples of best practices with other organisations in order to strengthen the continuous improvement of our company and the sugar industry.”

Bonsucro’s Regional Director for Latin America, Miguel Hernández, welcomed the development. “It is great that a mill in Nicaragua is Bonsucro certified. This achievement demonstrates both that production in Central America can attain global standards and also that Bonsucro has a valuable place in promoting responsible, resilient production and processing of sugarcane in Central America.”

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.