Bonsucro’s latest outcomes revealed

14th February 2024

Our latest Outcome Report demonstrates that Bonsucro is facilitating meaningful, long-term change in the sugarcane sector. Certification data from the 2021-22 harvest shows that Bonsucro members who meet the requirements of the Bonsucro Production Standard continue to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, improve water stewardship and advance human rights in the sector. A new section in this year’s report reveals growing market demand for sugarcane derivatives that have been produced according to our rigorous sustainability standards.

Highlights from the report include:

  • On average, Bonsucro certified farms reduce land-management greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 17% within five years
  • Bonsucro certified farms reduce water consumption by an average of 41% over five years of certification.
  • Bonsucro certified farms reduce their fertiliser use by an average of 11% over five years of certification.
  • Market uptake of certified products increased with a 54% increase in the trade of certified sugar and a 4% rise in the trade of certified ethanol
  • Bonsucro certified farms pay 19% above the national minimum wage.

Producers benefit from Bonsucro certification

The report shows that in 2021-22, 120 million tonnes of Bonsucro certified sugarcane were produced, meaning that Bonsucro represents approximately 6.5% of global production. This makes Bonsucro the world’s largest voluntary standard certifier of sugarcane.

Over the reporting period, the area of Bonsuro certified land rose by 189,964 hectares. Part of that expansion came from newly certified producers, while 85% came from our certified producers expanding their area under certification in this period. This is a massive jump from 37% of producers choosing to increase their area of certified land the previous year.

Area of land in hectares that is producing certified sugarcane by year

Our certified members adapted their production practices to improve their environmental impact, vital as the world continues to heat up and resources become strained. Globally the data indicates a trend that the longer producers are certified, the greater the reduction in GHG emissions, helping the sector towards net-zero. It also indicates that Bonsucro certified members manage their resources more effectively – they achieved on average a 20% improvement in irrigated water efficiency between 2020 and 2021. Our members continued to explore more sustainable production practices, like water-flow meters to track water use and invested in new irrigation technologies.

The data reveals that our members continued to drive decent work and safer working conditions around the world. Over 128,000 farm workers and 68,000 mill workers benefit from Bonsucro certification through proper contracts, occupational health and safety plans, and access to safe drinking water. Data shows that certified farms and mills reduce accident rates significantly over five years of certification, while 29% of farms reported zero lost-time accidents in the 2021-22 sugarcane season. And 95% of members had systems to act on human rights risks in their production or supply chain.

Trade of certified products on the increase

Data in the Outcome Report indicates positive trends for both supply and demand for sugarcane and derivatives that meet our robust standard. This demonstrates that we are making progress on our commitment to drive the production and uptake of certified products and unlock the value of certification for our members.

Supply of certified derivatives grew in the 2021-22 sugarcane season. Production volumes of certified ethanol increased by 20% on the 2020-21 season, after having remained relatively static for three years. In 2021-22, production volumes of certified molasses grew dramatically by 500,000 tonnes – up 88% on the previous year.

There were positive increases in the market uptake and trade of certified derivates. Trade of certified sugar rose by 54% on the previous year, representing more than 1 million extra tonnes sold, while the trade of certified molasses grew by 32%.

Volume of trades in metric tonnes of certified sugar by year

Investing in our growing network

In 2022, we continued to grow our membership, and represented more countries than ever before, including Uruguay for the first time. We also saw strong growth in new members engaged in less traditional markets, such as rum production and sugarcane-based energy generation.

Our members benefitted from resources and training in 2022, aimed at helping them develop potential solutions to critical sustainability challenges. We invested financially in new impact projects in six countries, centred on climate action and smallholder farmers, through our Bonsucro Impact Fund. Over 100 members of the sector benefitted from training on protecting farm workers from ill-health caused by extreme heat, which we offered in partnership with La Isla Network.

Looking ahead

We are making good progress towards our strategic objectives, and are confident that this will continue. We will continue to offer resources and training to our members to help them address the most critical sustainability challenges in their supply chains, and work with them to collectively accelerate sustainability in the sector.

Visit our impacts page to find out more and download the report.