11th February 2022
This week, our member Raízen – a Brazilian integrated energy company operating at all levels of the sugarcane supply chain – has announced 1.2 billion BRL (approx. $200 million USD) in sustainability-linked bonds. These bonds will be conditional on Raízen demonstrating progress towards two key overarching sustainability objectives for 2026.
The first of these objectives is to achieve 94% of Bonsucro certification across its mills. Since acquiring the sugar energy company, Biosev, 74% of Raízen’s mills are currently certified. This new initiative is yet another example of Raízen’s continued commitment to sustainability since its first Bonsucro certification over a decade ago. Raízen has adopted the Bonsucro Production Standard as a credible assurance system against which to ensure sustainable practices. Our recent 2020 Outcome Report demonstrates quantifiable environmental and social benefits to operators, including lower worker accidents rates, and a reduction of 50% in water usage after five years of certification.
The bonds will be issued on the condition that Raízen meets the second objective to increase the number of women in leadership positions from 19% to 30%. Many barriers exist to women obtaining leadership positions in the sector. This ambitious target is a promising indication of advances towards gender inclusion in the sugarcane industry. Raízen’s determination to drive progress in this area is encouraging. The objective aligns with our new Production Standard, which sets operators a target of appointing women in at least 15% of leadership positions.
Reacting to the news, our Country Manager, Brazil, Livia Ignácio, commented how it is, “so inspiring to see the growing momentum in the Brazilian sugarcane sector accessing sustainable finance and using the Bonsucro certification as a reference for establishing ambitious targets towards a sustainable economy. I have no doubt that the Bonsucro standards are the perfect sustainability framework for the sugarcane sector to operate sustainably and collect financial, commercial and operational benefits.”
This announcement could be a great inspiration for others in the Brazilian sugarcane sector. It can demonstrate how Bonsucro certification offers a pillar against which to access sustainable finance initiatives.