Announcement on Benchmarking & Improvement Partnerships

16th April 2019

Bonsucro is a platform for change and continuous improvement towards sustainability in the sugarcane sector.  We recognise the importance of supporting and collaborating with partners who share our goals.  Whilst Bonsucro is the most recognised and credible global standard scheme for sustainable sugarcane, there are other schemes, tools and standards which aim to improve the sustainability performance of sugarcane producers.  In 2017 Bonsucro embarked on a work plan to design a proposed framework to benchmark, then assess and finally potentially endorse other schemes.  Following a consultative process, this has now concluded, and the Board of Directors has mandated Bonsucro to move forward on the following basis:

  1. Benchmarking Protocol v.2018.  The updated protocol provides a clear process for the benchmarking of other schemes, tools or standards against the Bonsucro Production Standard- the global reference framework.
    1. Benchmarking does not allow for any public claims. All information can be found here.
    2. Benchmarking is used to provide objective and published information on the differences between schemes, tools or standards and the Bonsucro Production Standard.
    3. Benchmarking does not aim at providing information on the scheme setting process, whether it is based on a transparent multi-stakeholder process and whether it follows ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Standard Setting.
    4. Benchmark does not aim at providing information on the assurance processes implemented by the peer scheme and whether it is based on an independent third-party assessment.
  2. Improvement Partnerships.  Bonsucro recognises as Improvement Schemes, those standards, schemes or tool that takes a defined group of farmers and / or mills through a deliberate process of continuous improvement against a normative framework for sustainable sugarcane which has been benchmarked against the Bonsucro Production Standard. Bonsucro wants to enter into  partnerships with Improvement Schemes, in order to:
    1. Provide a framework for collaboration based on principles of continuous improvement, learning & sharing
    2. Guide and support the continuous improvement pathway.   
    3. Support mills and farmers who want to become Bonsucro certified. 
    4. Promote transparency through monitoring and the publication of annual reports against mutually agreed indicators. 

Rationale for the decision:

  • Stakeholder consultations: The Improvement schemes consulted expressed concern over the complexity and the level of information required by Bonsucro to participate to the endorsement process. 
  • Credibility: Bonsucro does not have the organisational influence or control over other Improvement Schemes to support an endorsement protocol.  The Board of Directors concluded that it was not possible nor relevant for Bonsucro to guarantee equivalence to the market with the required level of credibility.
  • Innovation: Supporting continual improvement through learning, collaboration and innovation is key to the Bonsucro strategy as a platform for change

Next Steps

  • Benchmarking:  Bonsucro is moving forward with the implementation of the benchmarking protocol and has already completed two benchmarks against Improvement Schemes. Bonsucro welcomes other Improvement Schemes to discuss joint Benchmarking.
  • Improvement Partnership: Bonsucro is inviting Improvement Schemes to enter into bilateral dialogue with the secretariat with the aim of agreeing a bespoke partnership agreement.