Bonsucro strengthens its presence in Central America, certifying its first mill in Costa Rica

19th December 2019

Bonsucro is pleased to announce the certification of Ingenio Taboga against the Bonsucro Production and Chain of Custody Standards. The company has become the first mill in Costa Rica to achieve Bonsucro certification. This represents not only its dedication and hard work, but also the increasing commitment of the Central American sugarcane community to sustainability and responsible production.

Ingenio Taboga was one of Bonsucro’s first members in Costa Rica when it joined in 2018. The mill is located in Guanacaste Province, and started selling sugar in 1958. It is one of the Country’s key producers of sugar, including organic and flavoured sugars, ethanol and alcohol, and electricity. Today, the group produces roughly 827,000 tons of sugarcane.

Ingenio Taboga

Implementing changes

Andrés Araya, Operational Excellence Manager at Taboga, explained that in order to comply with the Standard, the mill instituted some critical changes. This included improving the quantity and quality of water provided to workers in the fields and changing chemical application rates. Mr Araya explained: “we had to lower our chemical load in the field by more than 50%”. As part of Taboga’s two-year preparation for certification, the mill also instituted an Environmental Impact Management Plan, which forms part of the requirements for Bonsucro compliance.

Taboga found the Bonsucro Calculator and guidance material to be especially helpful for understanding and implementing the necessary changes to achieve certification. Mr Araya believes that taking part in Bonsucro events like Bonsucro Global Week in Nicaragua and Technical Week in the Dominican Republic have been critical to the mill’s success. “These events allowed us to meet and get to know the organisations and people who have become important in helping us to achieve our goal”, says Mr Araya.

Significance of Bonsucro certification

Taboga chose to pursue Bonsucro certification as an endorsement of the company’s values and commitment to sustainability, community, and environmental responsibility. Mr Araya explained that for Taboga, certification was a goal that the mill has been working towards for about two years, however, the mill sees sustainability as an ongoing journey “which requires continuous improvement to strengthen each indicator and guarantee our future generations a better world”.

Next steps

Taboga looks forward to furthering its sustainability commitments while continuing to produce exceptional products derived from sugarcane in Costa Rica. The next steps for the group include sharing their experience and collaborating with other mills in Costa Rica.

Taboga would like to express its sincere thanks to Control Union, which supported the mill throughout the process – from doing a gap analysis until certification.

Find out more about Bonsucro certification.

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.