What’s behind a Bonsucro Chain of Custody Certification?

19th June 2017

Founding members of Bonsucro ED&F Man explain how working with Bonsucro is helping them achieve their sustainability goals

Global trader ED&F Man has played a part in Bonsucro ever since it was founded. The 230-year-old company, headquartered in the UK, has renewed its commitment to Bonsucro and sustainable sugarcane production in a new member pledge, and last year it expanded its original Bonsucro Chain of Custody certificate to encompass more sites around the world. ED&F Man’s certificates, all issued by the licensed certification body Control Union, now cover trading, refining, blending and packing operations in Czech Republic, India, Israel, Singapore, the USA, Ukraine and the UK, as well as the international molasses trading operations in New Orleans and Amsterdam.

We caught up with René Kleinjan, the company’s Group HSEQ & CSR Manager, to understand what’s behind their longstanding commitment to Bonsucro and their recent sustainability work.

Putting Sustainability First

According to René, one of the commodities at the heart of ED&F Man’s business – sugarcane – must be sustainable, and Bonsucro certification is the way that this can be assured.

“We believe the agricultural sector should be sustainable to secure its long-term future. This is the culmination of what we’ve been doing for years to achieve high levels of sustainability across our products, and it was fantastic to have our hard work acknowledged by such a respected independent body.”

One key driver of the company’s sustainability work is the increasing demand from ED&F Man’s clients for sustainably-sourced sugarcane products, explains René. “Our customers and industrial end users are also demanding sustainable sugar by 2020. So achieving Bonsucro certification shows that we’re listening to their requirements, applying the highest standards to grow our sustainable supply chain, and we can meet their needs well into the future.”

Improved Client Relationships

ED&F Man’s sustainability work has brought an array of benefits to the company, says René. “We’ve intensified our relationships with suppliers. Environmental, social and economic sustainability have always been priorities for us – across our commodities. This certification process has led to more regular dialogue with our suppliers to make sure we’re meeting these standards. We’re working even more closely and collaboratively with suppliers and producers in origin now tosupport a sustainable supply chain.”

A Roadmap to Certification


For some, achieving Bonsucro Chain of Custody certification can often seem a daunting task when starting out. René explains that for ED&F Man, the first step was to establish priorities and a path to take. “We set out a road map to decide which offices and assets to prioritise across the world, and underwent training on Bonsucro-specific requirements and what we had to do to meet them. We extended our existing internal controls and quality systems and implemented a protocol to harmonise our compliance standards globally. This is in line with our CSR policy to meet Bonsucro’s requirements for traceability and mass-balance for trading, shipping and processing.”

“We’d like to thank the Bonsucro team who helped us clarify specific requirements, train staff and inspire us. We’d also like to thank all the ED&F Man staff who’ve worked so hard to drive sustainability in our operations and supply chains, and supported a common, realistic goal to achieve.”

Employing Tools & Resources

By using tools such the Bonsucro Production & Chain of Custody Standards, ED&F Man were able to tap into a ready-made, tested framework for sustainability. “The Bonsucro Standard helped assure us that we were meeting Bonsucro’s specific requirements in a structured way, and confirmed that the policies we’d put in place were robust and effective”, says René. “The Bonsucro Calculator is not extensively used in a trading environment such as ours, but it gave us a better idea of how Bonsucro Standards are implemented on mill and farm level. This lets us support our partners better during dialogues and collaborative actions.”

Collaborating for Improvement

Playing an active role in Bonsucro since its foundation, ED&F Man has found working with the organisation to be invaluable to its CSR work, according to René. “Working with Bonsucro lets us contribute more to sustainable supply chain discussions, progress different priorities in our CSR policy, and meet our CSR objectives. We’ve built our reputation on operating responsibly, focusing on our clients and building trust; with sustainable programmes already in place for our coffee- and molasses-trading businesses, this certification is a clear sign of how importantly we take this.”

“We’re aware of the importance of being a socially responsible company, and Bonsucro is a big part of that. As a founder member of Bonsucro, we’ve helped develop standards and promote the scheme to others. Our position as a Bonsucro board member, and now Members’ Council representative, has helped us formulate our proactive approach to sustainability for years now, and this certification confirms the role we want to take in leading a sustainable future in commodity trading.”

Want to learn more?

  • ED&F Man: To find our more about the company’s work with Bonsucro, their certifications, or how to purchase Bonsucro certified product from them, contact Shauna Mohr.
  • Bonsucro: If you are interested in obtaining Bonsucro certification, get in touch at our website here.
  • Control Union: To learn more about the auditing services provided by Control Union, contact Danielle Lima, or alternatively see the list of Licensed Certification Bodies on the Bonsucro website.

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.