Bonsucro Inspire Awards 2018

12th February 2018
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The sixth annual Bonsucro Inspire Award ceremony was held at the spectacular Intermezzo del Bosque restaurant overlooking Managua, Nicaragua, during Bonsucro Week 2018.
The Bonsucro Inspire Award is awarded to an organisation, partnership or individual in recognition of their exemplary and transformative contributions to the sustainable sugarcane sector, celebrating collaboration between different actors, and sharing stories that others can be inspired by and learn from.
The winner of this year’s award was chosen by a committee made up of representatives from Bonsucro’s Members’ Council following an evaluation of specific contribution, collaboration with others, impact, and learning over the last year. The committee settled on four finalists:
  • Grupo Arcor (Argentina),
  • Grupo CASSA (El Salvador),
  • Midlands Sustainable Sugar Supply Chain Collaboration/SUSFARMS (South Africa) 
  • Socicana (Brazil).

Announcing the three runners-up:

Grupo Arcor (Argentina)

Grupo Arcor, an Argentine food company that specialises in food, confectionery, chocolates, packaging and agroindustry, was shortlisted by the committee for its Sustainable Agricultural Program involving farmers, employees, NGOs, governments and other firms.

One of the outputs of the programme was the development of a diagnostic tool which enabled the evaluation of 100 farmers to understand and assess their economic, social and environmental status and needs, with the results used to inform working plans for improvement. Other aspects focused on increasing mechanisation, reducing agrochemicals, reusing raw materials such as bagasse, and reforestation.

In 2017, Grupo Arcor’s La Providencia sugarcane mill achieved certification to the Bonsucro Production Standard, the first mill in South America outside of Brazil to do so.

Grupo Arcor’s work was considered by the committee to be an example of the importance and necessity of adapting to producers’ needs and reality, always considering their context and history.

Grupo CASSA (El Salvador)

Grupo CASSA (Compañia Azucarera Salvadoreña), an agro-industrial company with more than 50 years of experience in the production of sugar, molasses and energy from sugarcane, was shortlisted for its achievements in working with farmers and local communities through its Aliados de la Comunidad programme. In November 2017 their Central Izalco mill became the first mill in El Salvador to achieve Bonsucro certification.

Grupo CASSA works with cooperatives as key strategic partners, and is building alliances with volunteering networks, non-profit organisations, universities, local and central governments, and banks to address local needs. Their objective is to transform producers and cooperatives into sustainable, competitive and profitable enterprises, using the mills and supply chains as an engine for community development. Areas of focus include eradicating child labor in all its forms and improving of the quality of life of families.

The awards committee believes we can learn from Grupo CASSA’s benefits to communities and families that sustainability is a way of doing business, by influencing decisions at all levels.

Midlands Sustainable Sugar Supply Chain Collaboration/SUSFARMS
(South Africa)

Established in 2014, the Midlands Sustainable Sugar Supply Chain Collaboration is a multi-stakeholder group of key players in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands sugarcane region delivering sustainability services to sugarcane growers free of charge. The foundation of the collaboration is an existing sugarcane farm sustainability management tool called SUSFARMS that has been recognised and supported by the South African Government. SUSFARMS was shortlisted for its participatory stakeholder engagement model that is operating in a region under significant pressure from climate change.

Their sustainability tool has helped growers work towards compliance with Bonsucro indicators and climate-smart practices, through methods such as the use of farm-specific Spatial Biodiversity Plans and 237 land use plans, aiming to improve land use and conservation. The scheme has reported significant benefits including improved field management, better use and management of fertilisers and agrochemicals, reduced soil erosion, easier cane extraction, reduced operational costs and safer road networks for staff transport and fire response units. The committee shortlisted SUSFARMS for the Award as a model approach to stakeholder engagement and cross-sector learning. An important outcome from the scheme is the effectiveness of informal interactions in engaging small-scale growers in sustainability improvements, showcasing existing examples of good farming practices.

And the winner is…

Socicana (Brazil)

Bonsucro is pleased to be able to name Socicana, the Association of Sugarcane Suppliers from Guariba, Brazil as the winner of Bonsucro Inspire Award 2018. Socicana’s Bruno Rangel was on hand to accept the award, presented by Diane Stevenson, the Chair of Bonsucro’s Members’ Council.

Bruno said of the award, “It is very important to showcase the Socicana way of producing sugarcane. We have been working on this process in partnership with Solidaridad since 2011 and now we can show the results and benefits. We are very proud of our growers.”

Socicana, with their partners Solidaridad, has promoted competitiveness and sustainable development through its Top Cane Project, which aims to build a gradual and continuous improvement process for the better management of farms. Top Cane project provides free training to rural producers and their families on farm management, with an added emphasis on personal and professional development through improved business skills. Training methods include health and safety courses, guidance materials, technical support visits and field days for monitoring of performance indicators. The scheme has also embraced innovative uses of social media as a means for producers to ask questions and to share best practices, including new technologies and approaches.

The committee awarded Socicana with the Inspire Award 2018 for building a network of partners to ensure a robust and resilient programme, paired with a model of engagement that really focuses on the needs of producers and their families through training and support, promoting their personal and professional development. Socicana provided evidence of improvement in the areas of occupational health and safety, labour relations, agricultural practices, environmental management, business management, and social responsibility projects.

According to Mr Rangel, Socicana has plans to expand its work. “We hope that Socicana can be the bridge to bring the growers around the world to a new mindset about the production, the costs of production, the different ways of seeing your field and your farm, and always looking for good practices and continuous improvement.

“We will work to bring more growers into the process including our federation, Orplana, which has another 32 integrated associations. We believe that we can reach a large number of growers in a short space of time. In this way we can show the world that Brazil works with responsibility, using new technologies and respecting the laws, the workers and the environment.”

Congratulations to Socicana and the three runners up for this year’s Inspire Award. Bonsucro would like to extend a warm thank you to all of the participants of the dinner, those that submitted nominations, and everyone who made this year’s edition a memorable one. We hope that people take inspiration from the models and practices shared by this year’s nominees and use them to accelerate and develop your own practices. We look forward to receiving even more impressive and exciting submissions next year.

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.