Bonsucro in Australia: takeaways from sugarcane stakeholders

21st April 2022

As a key sugarcane origin country, Australia is an important market for Bonsucro. It plays a critical role in both the regional and global sugarcane industry, and its farmers and millers have been leading the way in sustainability.

Rick Lyu australia sugarcane field

12 certified sugarcane farms, mills, and refineries comprise Bonsucro’s membership in Australia – many of whom have been strong supporters of our platform from the beginning. Together, they manage 42,907 hectares of Bonsucro certified land and produce 2,335,406 tonnes of certified sugar per year (2020).

As a global and collaborative platform, visiting and listening to our members, partners and stakeholders in the region is crucial for us. Over the past weeks, our Regional Director for Asia-Pacific, Rick Lyu, has been meeting with local Australian farmers, millers, trading companies, milling councils, and farmer associations, to strengthen our understanding of their regional context and explore ways to enhance our partnerships with members and stakeholders.

Rick meeting with the management team at Queensland Sugar

The main purpose of our trip was to strengthen connections with our Australian members and discuss the new Production Standard. It was an opportunity to reiterate the rationale behind the latest Standard revision, and to hear and address members’ latest thoughts and concerns on its implementation. Our revised five-year Strategy also was an important item, as Australian stakeholders can play a key role in helping to meet our objectives, which are to:

  • Improve the environmental impact of sugarcane
  • Strengthen human rights and decent work
  • Create value across the supply chain

Rick also visited the region to identify further opportunities for Australian members and stakeholders, such as applying for grants through the Bonsucro Impact Fund and our Credit Trading Platform.

Listening to local members and stakeholders has strengthened our understanding of their country-specific challenges. Rick discussed how local stakeholders can adapt their approach to certification but still adhere to Bonsucro’s strategy and values. We look forward to continuing the discussion and considering how we can collaborate with existing national frameworks to accelerate sustainability in the sector.

Rick meeting with Matt Kealley from CANEGROWERS

We are motivated by our discussions with CANEGROWERS, a platform providing a voice for cane growers in the country, on how we can build a stronger partnership. CANEGROWERS has its own sustainability standard, Smartcane BMP, and we believe we can mutually benefit from the work of one another.

With ‘creating value across the supply chain’ being one of our three core objectives, it was important for us to address members’ concerns about market uptake and demand for Bonsucro certified products. To stimulate the market, we are currently developing plans and expanding our capacities by appointing a global Engagement and Markets Director and a Memberships and Markets Coordinator. Positive trends in the sugarcane market, such as the increase in demand for Bonsucro certified ethanol, and certified bagasse for packaging and bioplastics, also offer promising opportunities for Australian members and stakeholders.

Many of our members were impressed by the increasing number of successful credit trades on the Bonsucro Credit Trading Platform, and by the future opportunities that this presents for local millers and farmers. We are committed to improving this platform to add more value to our membership. We were particularly pleased to see interest in the Bonsucro Impact Fund and look forward to hearing about our members’ and stakeholders’ innovative impact projects through their funding applications.

australia sugarcane stakeholders

(From top left to bottom right) Rick meeting with: Ian Davies – Wilmar Sugar Group; Peter Macarthur – WH Heck & Sons; Chris Connors – Sunshine Sugar Co; Rachele Sheard and David Rynn – Australian Sugar Milling Council; Robert Quirk; Don Murday and Gerard Puglisi – Australian Cane Farmers Association; David Barlett – Citifarm, and Robert Quirk.

We would like to thank everyone who took the time to meet with Rick and share their invaluable insights with us at: Sunshine Sugar Group, WH Heck & Sons, Wilmar Sugar Group, Bundaberg Sugar Group, Queensland Sugar Limited, Far Northern Milling, CANEGROWERS, Australia Sugar Milling Council (ASMC), Australian Cane Farmers Association (ACFA), Robert Quirk, David Bartlett and many other local Australian sugarcane farmers.

Are you an Australian producer, intermediary, association, civil society, buyer or end user of sugarcane materials? Learn more about the benefits of Bonsucro certification and contact our Regional Director Rick Lyu at rick@bonsucro.com.