Community Voices in the Sugarcane Value Chain

Bonsucro seeks to engage with organisations to further promote workers and communities voice in the sugarcane value chain.

< Complaints and Grievances

Bonsucro promoting workers and community voices in the Sugarcane Value Chain

Invitation to partner with Bonsucro

Bonsucro’s vision is a sugarcane sector with thriving, sustainable producer communities and resilient, assured supply chains. Bonsucro’s mission is to ensure that responsible sugarcane production creates lasting value for the people, communities, businesses, economies and eco-systems in all cane-growing origins.

To achieve its mission and realise its vision, Bonsucro needs to ensure that the voices of the most vulnerable stakeholders are heard. 2020 will be a year of learning with the implementation of the new Grievance Mechanism with support from CEDR and the monitoring of users’ engagement with the different options offered in its Complaints and Grievances Management System.

Additionally, Bonsucro will, over the next few years, seek to engage with organisations to further promote workers and communities voice in the Sugarcane Value Chain by following the action plan presented below. Bonsucro wants to actively encourage organisations delivering services in line with the plan and work streams described below to get in touch and explore options to join forces. Please reach out to Bonsucro Partnership and Innovation Lead for an initial exploratory conversation.

I. Background

Bonsucro’s strategy builds a platform to accelerate change for the largest agricultural commodity in the world – sugarcane. The platform is supported by an Assurance System which allows Bonsucro to monitor the performance of its members, certificate holders and promote continuous improvement. At the heart of this system is the setting of the Bonsucro Standards, the management of supporting certification and assurance services, and oversight activities. A key part of Bonsucro’s oversight activities consists in offering stakeholders access to a Complaints and Grievances Management System to help them raise grievances and report incidents and breaches of the Bonsucro Standards or Code of Conduct. One of the options within this system is the Bonsucro Grievance Mechanism (See Diagram 1).

Diagram 1: Understanding the context of the Bonsucro Complaints and grievance Management System

In 2020, Bonsucro completed a review of its Grievance Mechanism using, as a baseline, Principles 31 of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights which provides effectiveness criteria for non-judicial grievance mechanisms. Bonsucro also conducted a public consultation exercise about the mechanism which resulted in Bonsucro mapping out additional complaint reporting options available to stakeholders as part of its Complaints and Grievances Management System.

This process helped Bonsucro identify opportunities to further improve the legitimacy, accessibility, Predictability, equitability, Transparency, Human Rights compatibility, continuous improvement and Focus on dialogue of its Complaints and Grievances Management System.

II. Promoting Workers and Communities Voice in the sugarcane value chain

The review of the Grievance Mechanism highlighted a number of opportunities to further meet stakeholder expectations and align with the United Nations Guiding Principles. The next step consisted in defining an action plan which involves partnering with external organisations for its resourcing and delivery. Below is an overview of the key work streams of Bonsucro’s action plan:

  1. Increasing independent third-party’s capacity for handling cases going through the Bonsucro Grievance Mechanism – In order to improve the accessibility of the Bonsucro Grievance Mechanism to communities and workers, Bonsucro would like to increase the capacity of the third party CEDR to manage complaints submitted through the Bonsucro Grievance Mechanism. Whilst a budget has already been allocated to support the handling of cases each financial year, Bonsucro is seeking to scale up CEDR’s ability to handle more cases.

    Call for partnering:
    Bonsucro is seeking to engage with donors interested in supporting this work stream.
  2. Making the Bonsucro Grievance Mechanism more accessible through translation services for complainants – In order to improve the Accessibility of the Bonsucro Grievance Mechanism (which currently requires submission of complaints in English), Bonsucro would like to secure funding to support translation services and identify organisations who could provide translation services for complainant going through the Bonsucro Grievance Mechanism.

    Call for Partnering: Bonsucro is seeking to engage with partners to support this work stream. Our priority is for the following languages of sugar cane growing countries where Bonsucro currently operates.

  3. Making the Bonsucro Grievance mechanism and other complaint reporting options more accessible by offering case support to complainants – In order to improve the Equitability and Accessibility of the complaint reporting options offered as part of the Bonsucro Complaints and Grievances Management System, Bonsucro wants to help communities and workers better understand the options available to them in order to select the most effective path to voice their concern.

    Call for partnering:  While Bonsucro has published detailed information on its website about the ecosystem of complaint reporting options, it would now like to partner with a network of independent organisations who would offer this support service to communities and workers, including help in putting together the necessary documentation to voice their concern. Our priorities are on sugar cane growing countries where Bonsucro currently operates.

  4. Making the Bonsucro Grievance mechanism and other complaint reporting options more accessible through technology solutions – In order to further foster the dialogue necessary for Bonsucro Complaints and Grievances Management System to be effective, Bonsucro would like to explore how technology could be harnessed to help workers and community members to voice their complaints and grievances.

    Call for partnering: Bonsucro is seeking to engage with partners to support this work stream

  5. Exploring mediation alternatives: Bonsucro has contracted CEDR to offer a mediation service when a case goes through the Bonsucro Grievance Mechanism – but Bonsucro acknowledges that other mediation services could be accessed beside the Bonsucro Grievance Mechanism.

    Call for partnering: Bonsucro welcomes conversations with partners to explore possible alternatives might be and options to advertise them.

  6. Raising awareness through training – In order to improve the Legitimacy, Accessibility, Predictability, Equitability and Transparency of complaint reporting options offered as part of the Bonsucro Complaints and Grievances Management System, Bonsucro is looking to:A. make communities and workers more aware of the importance to voice their complaints and grievances.
    B. make its membership more aware of cases featuring successful remedial actions for environmental and social impacts to inform future discussions on remedy.

    Call for partnering: Bonsucro would like to work with a network of organisations who:A. have developed / could develop a capacity building programme to empower workers and communities to raise their concerns and seek remedy. Our priorities are on sugar cane growing countries where Bonsucro currently operates.

    B. have developed / could develop case studies featuring successful remedial actions for environmental and social impacts, and best practice guidance for Bonsucro members.

Bonsucro’s priorities are on sugar cane growing countries where the organisation currently operates.