ClimateCane Tracker to help cut greenhouse gas emissions in sugarcane

13th November 2023

greenhouse gas sugarcane

Contributing to global climate efforts has just become easier for the sugarcane sector with the ClimateCane Tracker.

This new tool launched by Bonsucro will help sugarcane farms and mills, and buyers of sugarcane derivatives, to set targets to reduce emissions in line with climate science.

The tool was designed specifically for the sugarcane sector using the Science-Based Targets initiative’s (SBTi) guidance on forest, land and agriculture (FLAG) emissions to the sugarcane sector.

What are science-based targets?

The Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to below 1.5°C. Scientists agree that warming beyond 1.5°C will significantly increase the risks and impacts of climate change.

A science-based target quantifies the greenhouse gas emissions reductions that a company needs to achieve to align with this goal.

It should cover all emissions that a company is responsible for:

  • Scope 1 emissions come from sources you directly control (e.g. from burning fuel in your factories and vehicles).
  • Scope 2 covers the emissions produced in generating the energy you purchase (in most cases, this means you electricity use).
  • Scope 3 addresses indirect emissions linked to the company’s value chain. This covers a wide range of upstream and downstream activities, from the production of the goods and services you buy, to employee commuting and waste management.

Why set science-based targets in sugarcane?

Agriculture, forestry and other land (FLAG) use accounts for nearly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Added to this, FLAG activities offer opportunities to remove carbon from the atmosphere, which is critical in achieving net zero and keeping warming below 1.5°C.

Thousands of leading companies worldwide have committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions in line with science. But until now, no guidance or tools have been available specifically to support sugarcane producers. Yet, sugarcane farming emits more than 400 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year. We recently explored the main sources of emissions in the sector on the blog.

The ClimateCane Tracker enables sugarcane producers, and the companies they supply, to set rigorous short-term (5-10 years) and long-term (2050) targets for reducing their climate impact. The targets cover all emissions associated with land management and land-use change, as well as on-farm carbon removals (for example through storing more carbon in soils). The tool takes account of the region(s) where producers operate, as well as their growth plans.

Who is the ClimateCane Tracker for?

The ClimateCane Tracker will be exclusive to Bonsucro members for a year before being made available to the whole sector. It can be used in conjunction with the Bonsucro Calculator, which has just been updated to strengthen reporting on emissions.

While the tool is primarily aimed at farms and mills, downstream companies can use it for sugarcane-specific targets, or use the SBTi FLAG sector pathway. Buyers can also use it to promote emission reduction planning and strategies to engage their suppliers or plan capacity-building projects.

For BEVAP, a Bonsucro member who piloted the ClimateCane Tracker earlier this year, “having the opportunity to contribute to developing this tool was extremely rewarding for our evolution in the climate action and GHG reduction agenda. We still have a long way to go, but this work has undoubtedly enhanced our maturity in this topic. Congratulations, Bonsucro for the initiative and participatory management that you have been applying in the project development.”

The ClimateCane Tracker is part a wider initiative by Bonsucro, supported by sustainability consultants Quantis, to develop a FLAG mitigation pathway for the sugarcane sector. BEVAP is one of more than 25 companies that are supporting the project.

“The facts are clear. If we don’t reduce agriculture based GHG emissions, there is no way to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Every sector needs to play its part and sugarcane is no exception.

Our new ClimateCane Tracker offers a credible and practical way to support the sugarcane sector to set near and long-term mitigation targets for the agriculture phase.

The response so far has been very positive and our members are looking forward to using the tool to make science-based targets on climate.s that we have the chance to meet the requirements set by scientists to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.”

Danielle Morley, Bonsucro CEO

Driving climate action in the sugarcane sector is a key priority for Bonsucro. On average, Bonsucro-certified mills and farms reduce their CO2 emissions per kilo of sugar by 17% within five years, but our aim is to increase this to at least 30%. Research suggests that adopting the Bonsucro standard globally has the potential to halve greenhouse gas emissions from the sugarcane industry.

To get started, visit the ClimateCane Tracker.

If you aren’t a Bonsucro member but are interested in joining the network, learn more about Bonsucro membership or contact our team