First Bonsucro certification in Panama

15th July 2020

Central Azucarero La Victoria, S.A. is the first mill in Panama to receive a Bonsucro certification.

In the 1970s, the government authorities in Panama developed agro-industrial activity in an area with high unemployment and poverty to help address these issues. In 1973, Sugar Corporation, a state-owned company was created to build, direct and manage four sugar mills, dedicated to the production of raw sugar, for export. Corporation Azucarero La Victoria was one of these mills. In 1999, the Ingenio La Victoria passed into the private hands under the name of Central Azucarero La Victoria S.A. Now, 20 years later it has a vision to be a leading company in the production of sugar nationally – ensuring its profitability in a sustainable way, with corporate and environmental social responsibility.

Central Azucarero La Victoria, S.A. has reflected positive growth since it achieved high-level certifications, such Bonsucro. The certification allows the team to strengthen and develop as a more organized and competitive company. It also helps to guarantee that processes for sugarcane and molasses production are carried out in a sustainable way – all the way from the field to the final customer.

The mill decided to work towards a Bonsucro certification at the request of some clients. Ing. Luis A. Herrera A, the General Manager, said that certification has “presented a great opportunity to expand the international market and reevaluate the social, economic and environmental conditions of the sector.”

The team said that achieving a high-level certification such as Bonsucro is the result of the effort made by the work team with the support from Engr. Belén Casas. Plus, Luis A. Herrera, provided significant support to make the necessary improvements to achieve certification. In addition, Peterson Consultancy was essential to the process by detecting the initial flaws in the sustainability system that could be addressed.

Environmentally, Central Azucarero La Victoria, SA. applied improvements to water use, management and control in the use of agrochemicals. The organisation has decreased the amount it burns sugarcane and increased the green harvest. A plan to monitor the flora and fauna as a fundamental part of biodiversity and ecosystem services has also been implemented.

The indicators in the Bonsucro Standard has allowed Central Azucarero La Victoria, SA to improve its agricultural practices, industrial process, environmental management and safety, health and hygiene at work. In addition, the changes generated in sugar storage warehouses can be highlighted for easy identification of Bonsucro certified product.

Communication channels have helped to create improvements. This has also helped to create a link has been created with the stakeholders. All the improvements enable continuous improvement and demonstrates that Central Azucarero La Victoria, SA works with the three pillars of sustainability, environmental and socioeconomic.

Luis A. Herrera  said, “The Bonsucro certification is considered an icon of high value worldwide in the industry; which, becomes a very important award for Central Azucarero La Victoria, SA, for being the first mill that achieves such certification in Panama.” Central Azucarero La Victoria, SA joins over 130 Bonsucro certified mills around the world and helps the organisation to become more competitive both in the national and international markets. Central Azucarero La Victoria, SA has a desire to demonstrate that it is a company that operates sustainably and meets the requirements of the Production Standard and Chain of Custody for Bonsucro. These certifications inspire the team to continue with the same performance and commitment, to maintain this certification.