Sugarcane & the SDGS: A Q&A with Fundazucar’s Tomás Regalado

13th February 2018

leer artículo en español

How the sustainability work of Bonsucro’s membership can contribute towards the SDGs

Sugarcane-based agriculture and industry has significant potential to create shared value for the people, communities, businesses, economies and ecosystems of cane-growing origins, and in doing so, can support progress towards the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In January, Tomás Regalado, President of the Salvadorian non-profit organisation Fundazucar, was the keynote speaker at Bonsucro Week 2018 conference in Nicaragua. Speaking about the importance of the SDGs as global guidelines for sustainable growth and development, Mr. Regalado explained to the Bonsucro Week audience how the global sugarcane sector can play a key role in fulfilling these goals and assuring long-term sustainability success.

The SDGs are relevant for the sugarcane sector because our sector’s far reaching scale and scope can have a truly massive impact on the attainment of these goals. Sustainability is sometimes seen as a governmental responsibility; the SDG’s create a valuable platform that encourages public–private cooperation in the attainment of the SDG’s.” Mr. Regalado points out how Bonsucro’s diverse membership is a valuable asset and can be at the vanguard of helping meet these goals: “Bonsucro can play a key role in organising, encouraging and helping create measurement tools for our sector to align with the SDG’s.”

In alluding to practical examples, Mr. Regalado describes how Fundazucar and the Salvadoran sugar industry helped, perhaps unwittingly, the attainment of the SDG’s. “Since we noticed that our projects were having a positive impact on the SDG’s we ran a comparative exercise which compared our projects, inputs and goals, and how they are aligned and help add to the accomplishment of the SDG’s.”

Despite the efforts of using the SDGs as an attempt to align government and business agendas, as well as the financial sector, Mr. Regalado comments on how there is still a lot of work ahead so that the sugarcane sector can incur such sustainability benefits. “At present, the sugarcane sector is not ready to benefit from this potential synergy. We still have lots to learn about the SDG’s themselves and how we can be a part of them, as well as understanding how we can have a greater impact via multi sector cooperation and public-private partnerships with the SDG’s in mind.”

As part of its Monitoring and Evaluation programme, Bonsucro is currently working on revised Theory of Change, which has, at its core, the ultimate objective of Bonsucro as a platform for change to drive improvement in the economic, social, and environmental performance of sugarcane farmers and millers around the world, contributing to the achievement of the SDGs.