Announcement on Benchmarking & Improvement Partnerships

16th April 2019

Bonsucro is a platform for change and continuous improvement towards sustainability in the sugarcane sector.  We recognise the importance of supporting and collaborating with partners who share our goals.  Whilst Bonsucro is the most recognised and credible global standard scheme for sustainable sugarcane, there are other schemes, tools and standards which aim to improve the sustainability performance of sugarcane producers.  In 2017 Bonsucro embarked on a work plan to design a proposed framework to benchmark, then assess and finally potentially endorse other schemes.  Following a consultative process, this has now concluded, and the Board of Directors has mandated Bonsucro to move forward on the following basis:

  1. Benchmarking Protocol v.2018.  The updated protocol provides a clear process for the benchmarking of other schemes, tools or standards against the Bonsucro Production Standard- the global reference framework.
    1. Benchmarking does not allow for any public claims. All information can be found here.
    2. Benchmarking is used to provide objective and published information on the differences between schemes, tools or standards and the Bonsucro Production Standard.
    3. Benchmarking does not aim at providing information on the scheme setting process, whether it is based on a transparent multi-stakeholder process and whether it follows ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Standard Setting.
    4. Benchmark does not aim at providing information on the assurance processes implemented by the peer scheme and whether it is based on an independent third-party assessment.
  2. Improvement Partnerships.  Bonsucro recognises as Improvement Schemes, those standards, schemes or tool that takes a defined group of farmers and / or mills through a deliberate process of continuous improvement against a normative framework for sustainable sugarcane which has been benchmarked against the Bonsucro Production Standard. Bonsucro wants to enter into  partnerships with Improvement Schemes, in order to:
    1. Provide a framework for collaboration based on principles of continuous improvement, learning & sharing
    2. Guide and support the continuous improvement pathway.   
    3. Support mills and farmers who want to become Bonsucro certified. 
    4. Promote transparency through monitoring and the publication of annual reports against mutually agreed indicators. 

Rationale for the decision:

  • Stakeholder consultations: The Improvement schemes consulted expressed concern over the complexity and the level of information required by Bonsucro to participate to the endorsement process. 
  • Credibility: Bonsucro does not have the organisational influence or control over other Improvement Schemes to support an endorsement protocol.  The Board of Directors concluded that it was not possible nor relevant for Bonsucro to guarantee equivalence to the market with the required level of credibility.
  • Innovation: Supporting continual improvement through learning, collaboration and innovation is key to the Bonsucro strategy as a platform for change

Next Steps

  • Benchmarking:  Bonsucro is moving forward with the implementation of the benchmarking protocol and has already completed two benchmarks against Improvement Schemes. Bonsucro welcomes other Improvement Schemes to discuss joint Benchmarking.
  • Improvement Partnership: Bonsucro is inviting Improvement Schemes to enter into bilateral dialogue with the secretariat with the aim of agreeing a bespoke partnership agreement.    

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.