First certification in Pakistan
Two sugar mills in Pakistan, Layyah Sugar Mill and Almoiz Sugar Mills Unit II, became the first in the country to become Bonsucro certified. The scope of the certification covers 82 different small-scale farms.
In Pakistan, small-scale farmers account for 64% of cultivation. Supporting them to adopt responsible practices is vital to making the whole industry more sustainable.
Bonsucro worked in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the two mills to boost sustainable farming practices in the country. During the project, Bonsucro and local partners trained and provided resources to key staff and thousands of farmers, which could help them achieve Bonsucro certification in the future.
Little awareness of environmental and social laws, and lack of information and documentation were some of the main barriers facing farmers. The mills have now invested in more capacity building operations and implemented documentation tools, such as farm diaries.
Through their certification, the mills and their smallholders have boosted sustainability in the country and demonstrated to the local sector that certification is possible.
Bonsucro continues to engage with producers and smallholders across Pakistan to help to address sustainability challenges and encourage greater uptake of certified sugarcane.
COP26 and climate action
In November 2021, Bonsucro was in Glasgow for COP26 to meet with partners and discuss the role of sustainable sugarcane in advancing sustainable agriculture and food systems.
Bonsucro left the event feeling inspired, with several takeaways on vital solutions.
The launch of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero highlighted the potential for further collaboration between finance and sustainability standards.
Climate justice is essential; the primacy of human rights needs to feature more strongly in the solution basket.
Data is fundamental to both the climate mission, and for smart agriculture solutions. An impressive range of cutting-edge digital products were showcased in Glasgow.
Bringing people and organisations together to generate a collective outcome is fundamental. It has reinforced that Bonsucro is the right platform to convene the sugarcane sector on climate action.
The path ahead will be challenging, and Bonsucro is ready to work with more companies to take climate action in sugarcane further.
Good practice, Better finance in South Africa
The ‘Good practice, Better finance’ project in South Africa aims to develop a new methodology to assess the sustainability performance of farmers and examine the landscapes.
It uses existing standards for sustainable sugarcane production (Bonsucro), cotton production (the Better Cotton Initiative) and water management (Alliance for Water Stewardship) as guidance.
The resulting methodology and supporting tools will inform decision makers of financial institutions on the sustainability profiles of their clients, making them better equipped to incentivise sustainable behaviour. The methodology also provides a framework for reporting on contributions towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
After two years of work with ten project participants, in September 2021 Bonsucro organised a field trip and workshop in Wartburg (KwaZulu-Natal) to share the first outcomes with large South African banks, relevant farmers, and sustainability standards organisations.
Bonsucro Board member and farmer, Ant Edmonds, offered a tour of his sugarcane farm to show what farming with nature instead of against it looks like in practice.
The meeting was attended by 23 people from 15 organisations including Nedbank (a participant in the project), Standard Bank and ABSA Bank.
The project revealed that a huge amount of sustainability related data is already collected and available from farms, sustainability standards, farmer and commodity organisations, research institutes and supply chain operators.
Combining data from the sector and the regional landscape gives more meaning to the data from a farm. To test the methodology, tools were developed using Survey123 and Power BI, to facilitate data collection, analysis and presentation.
Collaboration is critical to the success of the methodology. Therefore, the priority focus area should be on building trust between the organisations and establishing a platform to which they can subscribe.
The last step of the project will be to work with Nedbank on a risk scoring system using the data made available through the methodology. It will then be tested with Nedbank clients.
‘Good practice, Better finance’ is funded by SECO through the ISEAL Innovations Fund.