Bonsucro trip brings industry leaders to Philippines

Dec 11, 2014 | ,
Delegates at the Bonsucro AGM in Manila
Delegates learn more at the annual Bonsucro AGM, held this year in the Philippines.

This November the annual Bonsucro AGM and conference week was held in Manila, Philippines, attracting industry leaders and innovators from around the globe, including some of the foremost authorities on sugar, ethanol, farming, milling and refining.

The Philippines is one of Bonsucro’s top 10 priority markets and one of the largest sugarcane producers in the world with nearly 30 sugarcane mills, 14 refineries and 4 bioethanol distilleries.

Reef Catchments CEO Rob Cocco attended the event, with the focus of the forum very much aligned toward showcasing what has been achieved in the past twelve months and laying the platform of future aspirations for the sustainability group.

“Events for the week included formal updates on Bonsucro delivery toward its vision and goals, an update on the accreditation standards and process, member alignment with the standard and recommitment from several of world’s largest buyers of sugar to sustainable sourcing of sugar,” Mr Cocco said.

“Also on the table were ethanol and sugarcane by-product and formal networking actions within supply chain and civil society groups from around the world.”

Mr Cocco said it was evident there had been a large growth in membership and interest in sustainable sugarcane production and processing across the value chain, driven by Bonsucro and its members.

“Evidence of this enhanced interest saw a number of peak grower groups and a cross section of Australian milling companies attend the conference this year,” he said.

Enhanced interest goes well for future drivers via markets and the supply chain seeking more sustainability produced sugar and sugarcane by-products both in Australia and oversees.

“Programs like Bonsucro provide an ideal vehicle to have market arrangements into the future that also influence farm practice actions and link to natural asset condition improvement, offering integrated options with current government support.”

A key area of discussion was the establishment of a formal grower recognition component to the current Bonsucro standards review process. This recognition would allow for individual growers to become members of Bonsucro and align themselves with the production standard.

Founded in 2008, Bonsucro is a global non-profit, multi-stakeholder organisation fostering the sustainability of the sugarcane sector through its leading metric-based certification scheme and its support for continuous improvement for members. With an ever-increasing membership list counting nearly 200 members from 27 countries representing all areas of the supply chain, and a Board that is similarly representative across the industry, Bonsucro is a highly robust, transparent and democratic organisation that has the resources and commitment to bring about its vision: A sugarcane sector that is continuously improving and verified as sustainable.

Reef Catchments became aware of Bonsucro through the Project Catalyst Initiative and in 2009 became a civil society member of Bonsucro. Since that time Reef Catchments, and now Catchment Solutions, have been involved in supporting operational and governance aspects of Bonsucro. In 2012 CEO Rob Cocco was a member of the governance subcommittee which transitioned Bonsucro to a new era of operations that has seen the group grow to become a major influence in sustainable sugarcane production worldwide.