World’s first certified mill reinforces Brazilian sugarcane industry’s commitment to sustainability

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The first certification in the world for a sugarcane processing unit under the new Bonsucro sustainability standard, granted on June 21 to a Brazilian mill, reinforces the sustainability performance of the country’s sugarcane industry and will serve as a stimulus for additional mills to obtain certification. The assessment, following the certification of the Maracaí mill, located in São Paulo state and part of the Raízen Group, was made by the Sustainability Manager at the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (Unica), Luiz Fernando do Amaral.
“This first certification reflects the strong engagement of Brazilian companies with production methods that increasingly meet the requirements of a modern world. This is one of the several existing mechanisms to differentiate products, facilitating their global commercialization and consolidation,” said Amaral.

The development of certification standards for products such as ethanol and sugar has been intense in recent years, with several initiatives from companies, NGOs and governments surfacing around the world along the lines of the Bonsucro effort. UNICA has been an active participant in this process, supplying information and contributing with data and expertise. UNICA President and CEO Marcos Jank sees certification becoming a sort of passport or stamp of approval: “This will be essential for the Brazilian product to become an international commodity.”

Intensive work
According to Luiz Eduardo Osório, Vice-President of Sustainable Development and External Relations at Raízen, all of his company’s 24 mills will be certified under Bonsucro by the 2017/2018 sugarcane harvest and four mills should receive certification by the end of the current harvest. For now, 1.7 million tons of sugarcane, 130 thousand tons of sugar and 63 million liters of ethanol produced by the Maracaí mill meet the Bonsucro Production Standard.
Bonsucro General Manager David Willer described the first certification of a sugarcane processing mill as “the conclusion of five years of intense collaboration between the world’s biggest sugarcane producers, corporations and influential NGOs”.
Originally called Better Sugarcane Initiative, or BSI, Bonsucro was set up in 2009 to develop production standards, to establish social and environmental principles and criteria for sugarcane production around the world. The London-based multi-stakeholder and nonprofit organization includes producers, traders, retailers and investors committed to the continuous improvement of the sugarcane industry.

New members
Among Unica member companies, Raízen and Cevasa, controlled by Cargill, are already members of Bonsucro. Others joining the effort include ETH Bioenergy, a member-company of the Oderbrecht Group; São Manoel and Zilor, both associated with Copersucar; Renuka, controlled by India’s Shree Renuka and Petrobrás. All have submitted membership applications and are waiting for approval from the Bonsucro Board. Non-government organizations and companies already affiliated with Bonsucro include WWF, Ethical Sugar, Solidaridad, Cargill, Bacardi, Cadbury Schweppes, BP and Coca-Cola.


Tags: ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, biofuels, renewables, sustainability