26th January 2017
Monday 4th November
Bonsucro Week 2013 began with much excitement as 60 delegates eagerly hopped on the two coaches destined for the heart of the US sugar industry. The delegates, who represented all actors of the sugarcane supply chain, joined the Bonsucro team to visit a number of locations in the Louisiana countryside.
Green-liveried John Deere equipment was in abundance as delegates took a tour of the company’s Thibodaux plant, followed by a short excursion into the fields to see sugarcane harvesting in action at the Rebecca Farm. A lunch of typical Louisiana fare was followed by a visit to the US Department of Agriculture station at Houma, where delegates learnt about the USDA’s current research on different crop varieties.
The day was rounded off by an evening of mint juleps at the Roosevelt Hotel’s poolside bar.
Tuesday 5th November
From field to mill to the refinery, it was an experience that for many was a personal first!
Neville Dolan, plant manager of Raceland Raw Sugar Mill provided participants with a tour of the mill and for some participants new to sugarcane mills it was an eye-opener as all the steps were on display, from the freshly harvested cane straight from the fields to the raw products at the end. For those with more experience of sugarcane milling, it was an opportunity to see how other countries operate and gain a different perspective.
A visit to the historic Oak Alley Plantation, situated by the banks of the Mississippi river, gave participants another chance to see sugarcane harvesting, Louisiana-style, in action. The visit included a colourful discussion with sugarcane farmer Dickie, who stepped down from his harvester to chat with the delegates, one even being invited up into the harvester cab for a trip around the field.
Delegates were then given a rare opportunity to see inside the Louisiana Sugar Refining facility. Delegates kitted up in their safety equipment to be taken on an illuminating tour of the impressive refinery by their knowledgeable guides.
The field trips were sponsored by John Deere.
Wednesday 6th November
Wednesday’s proceedings took place in the sumptuous surroundings of the Roosevelt Hotel, with delegates gathering to attend the various meetings: Bonsucro Board of Directors meeting, Certification Body Summit, Farmer Working Group, and the Public Consultation on the Production Standard.
Certification Body Summit: Lead by Bonsucro Head of Sustainability, Nicolas Viart, The summit aimed to share and discuss experiences and solve common issues faced by the auditors whilst exercising their work. The revision of the Certification Protocol was launched.
Farmer Working Group: Almost 30 farmers from 9 countries convened for the Farmer Working Group meeting, under the leadership of Daniel Lobo, Bonsucro Head of Farmer Support. On the agenda for the meeting was a variety of topics including the: Farmer Community Programme, and the mechanisms behind it. The farmers from the Farmer Bursary shared their first-hand experiences of sugarcane farming and working with Bonsucro. A lively discussion enabled all those present to ask any questions and to interact with each other.
Public Consultation on the first draft of the revised Production Standard: Natasha Schwarzbach, Head of Engagement formally opened the second public consultation on the Production Standard. Nicolas Viart, Head of Sustainability and the experts chosen to form the Standards Revision Committee (SRC) were on hand to answer questions from over 70 delegates who participated in the consultation. The technical expert from the Farmer community Gerard Puglisi (farmer from Australia) communicated the process the SRC has followed to date and the next steps the SRC will implement in the process of the first draft of the revised Standard. There was a lively debate amongst all actors of the supply chain and the first draft of the revised Standard is now live on the website to gather further comments from a broader range of stakeholders.
Thursday 7th November
Over 130 people from a diverse and broad range of organisations and companies gathered to learn from 24 of some of the most influential individuals from the global sugarcane industry and the sustainability world, who featured on stage under the theme of ‘New Markets, New Opportunities’.
Natasha Schwarzbach, Head of Engagement welcomed the delegates and speakers and kept the conference running smoothly throughout the day.
Opening remarks were given by Jim Simon from the American Sugarcane League, followed by the welcome address from the Bonsucro Chairman, James Primrose.
Bonsucro’s CEO Nick Goodall, greeted the audience and gave a succinct description of Bonsucro’s role and its vision for the future.
WWF’s Jason Clay, as keynote speaker, set the tone for the day’s agenda with an inspiring and thought-provoking speech on the challenges that the world faces with regard to its resources, demonstrating the need to do more with less, and in particular, how Bonsucro can fit into this vision.
Senior Commodity Analyst John Cropley, from ED&F Man, spoke to the conference on the complex subject of mapping the sugarcane supply chain. John identified surplus and deficit regions for sugar, global trade flows and the impact of tariffs and quotas on trade patterns.
Paul Ryberg from the International Sugar Trade Coalition addressed the conference on the EU Sugar Regime, and focused on its reform and the implications this has for sugar exporting countries. The expansion of sugar production in Africa, the effects of the liberalisation of domestic production quotas and the access of Brazil to the EU market were all topics dealt with during Paul’s speech.
Rachel Phillips Rigby, from the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs, provided the audience with an in-depth view of the status of labor issues within the sugarcane supply chain, and communicated about the toolkit designed for companies as a framework for social compliance system that they can use to reduce labour issues within their supply chains.
Bill Peters from Argus Air Daily discussed the complexities of the US biofuel market and contrasted it with Brazil’s biofuels experiences and showed how sugarcane ethanol will fare against biodiesel production.
The afternoon’s agenda was dominated by the panel discussions and the presentations from the Bonsucro team. Moderated by Charley Richard, Executive Editor of the American Sugar Journal, and aimed to answer the question, ‘who is responsible for sustainability?’ The panel included representatives of all areas of the supply chain, from farmers, to millers, to end users, as well as civil society. The discussion was a lively one and gave a fascinating insight into the varying priorities and issues that the different areas of the industry are currently experiencing.
Nicolas Viart, Head of Sustainability at Bonsucro, was next up to the podium and demonstrated the simplicity of buying certified products. Nicolas explained the importance of three factors – a robust system administered by Bonsucro, the need for sufficient demand, and the need for sufficient supply, of certified products. Outlining the different systems that Bonsucro has put in place for the purchase of certified products – Mass Balance and the Credit Trading System (CTS), he showed how members of Bonsucro can be active participants in both systems.
Bonsucro’s Head of Engagement, Natasha Schwarzbach, and Research and Policy Analyst, Rafael Seixas, then talked the audience through the exciting evidence that has emerged since certification began and how Bonsucro is building the business case for Bonsucro.
Rafael and Natasha described the findings from certification data that show the impressive and considerable improvements in areas such as GHG emissions, reduction in water usage and improved yields that companies have experienced by implementing the Bonsucro system.
Finally, Natasha was pleased to announce the exciting news of the first on-packet appearance of the Bonsucro logo, soon to be launched and available in Brazil in 2014.
Three Board Directors, Diane Stevenson, Robert Quirk, Sven Sielhorst, took to the stage to discuss their visions, realities and predictions for the future of the sustainable sugarcane industry.
Vice Chairman, Michel Santos of Bunge Brazil gave the closing remarks to what was an intense but undoubtedly informative and valuable conference.
The day concluded with Bonsucro’s Annual General Meeting.
Thank you to our sponsors:
Silver Sponsor: Syngenta, Media Partner: American Sugar Journal, Coffee break sponsors: CSC and Control Union.
Friday 8th November
The final day of Bonsucro Week 2013 was the opportunity for Bonsucro Members to meet and discuss the pertinent issues at hand for the organisation and sustainability in general.
Nick Goodall CEO welcomed members and presented the Strategic Plan.
Natasha Schwarzbach and Nicolas Viart discussed the upcoming consultation on the Theory of Change and Rafael Seixas launched the consultation on the priority indicators for monitoring and evaluation.
During 2013, Bonsucro held webinars with all members with the objective to better understand members’ needs and concerns. Natasha Schwarzbach presented the results of these webinars and then asked members to share their experiences and focus on three key issues: Certification, Governance and Market Demand.
Sven Sielhorst, Board Director and International Programme Coordinator at Solidaridad then asked, ‘How can you change the world with sugarcane?’.