Membership update: new sub-category and refresh on numbers

30th April 2020

Bonsucro regularly improves its systems and processes – taking internal and external feedback into consideration. Over the 2019-20 financial year we did an internal review of our membership categories.  As a result, two changes are being introduced for this financial year 2020-21.

Firstly, a new membership sub-category for End Users called “High turnover & low sugarcane exposure End Users”. This sub-category responds to feedback from stakeholders and enables Bonsucro to recruit into membership companies with high turnover but low sugarcane exposure, such as retailers as well as companies using sugarcane as a feedstock for bioplastic or bagasse packaging.  Biomaterials is a small but growing sector increasingly important in the shift towards a circular economy. This new class enables such companies to join Bonsucro while their biomaterial use is just starting, or their volumes of sugarcane are generally low.

This new category applies to companies with turnover above USD $250million, but that use less than 500,000 tonnes of sugarcane per year – including outsourced procurement of sugarcane-derived material. The membership fee is GBP £7,350.

Using the Bonsucro Credits website conversion tool, 500,000 tonnes of sugarcane represents:

  • Approximately 56,000 tonnes of Refined Sugar or 60,000 tonnes of Raw Sugar
  • Approximately 10,400 tonnes of Bio Polyethylene (PE)
  • Approximately 37,500 tonnes of Bio Polylactic Acid (PLA)
  • Approximately 135,000 tonnes of Bagasse
  • Approximately 23,500 tonnes of Molasses

The other important change is a reduction of the overall number of farmer members. Bonsucro reviewed the farmer members category and realised that many of the 312 individual farmers who were added as non-paying, non-certified members had never engaged. The Secretariat reached out to locate and engage with a large cohort of farmers in India and a smaller group in Brazil.  Despite best efforts many of them could not be located or contacted and have therefore been removed from the membership.  Others were located and remain in membership, either as individuals or under the associations that represent them.  The thorough check ensured that farmers who belong to farmer associations are not considered twice in the overall number.

Despite this reduction in overall numbers, Bonsucro continues to grow membership in all other categories. For example, in 2019, the industrial class grew by 11%, the end user class grew by 20% and the intermediary and the trader class also grew by 20%. Likewise, the number of certified mills grew to 123 in 2019.  Bonsucro is pleased that the appetite for sustainability continues to grow across the whole sugarcane supply chain.

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.