Our business is built on soft commodities and so we are very aware of our responsibilities towards people, communities and the planet at large. That’s why Sucden is fully committed to sustainability. Our approach is to support and encourage a more efficient use of natural resources and the continuous protection of the environment and to help farmers become more financially viable to ensure the long term production of the commodities that we trade.
We aim to minimize our environmental footprint worldwide by seeking every opportunity to reduce our industrial, agricultural and environmental impacts. We help farmers in our supply chain improve their productivity and hopefully their livelihoods, through better farm management, environmentally friendly agricultural practices and a more efficient use of appropriate crop protection products. To achieve this, we often work alongside specialized organizations.
We are dedicated to demonstrating that our practices and processes reflect the highest standards of our industry. Several entities within the Group asked EcoVadis, the first collaborative platform providing Supplier Sustainability Ratings for global supply chains, to provide an external assessment of their sustainability performance and supply chain management. In 2019, our main French entity, Sucres et Denrées SA, reached gold level.
To better address the concerns of deforestation due to cocoa cultivation, Sucden joined the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI) in March 2019 and published its implementation plan for work in Ghana and Ivory Coast in September. As a further expression of our engagement in this important work, Sucden announced in May 2019 a Forests Protection Policy applicable to its cocoa sourcing. The Policy underlines our commitment to prevent deforestation in the global cocoa supply chain, achieve traceability in the direct supply chain and contribute to the rehabilitation and conservation of degraded landscapes.
Within the CFI action plan, a major priority is to accelerate our farm mapping program and to trace farmer deliveries to the first point of purchase, which to date has focused on farmers involved in our sustainable programs. At the end of 2019, we had successfully mapped the perimeters (polygons) of 30,000 cocoa farms in Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria.
In addition, Sucden has formalized its commitment to work with key external stakeholders in support of broader landscape conservation and rehabilitation goals. In Ivory Coast, collaboration with agroforestry experts and customers has resulted in a pilot project involving tree planting and farm diversification, which benefits both cocoa farms and their communities by improving degraded landscapes. In Ghana, Sucden is a collaborator in an innovative landscape-based program designed to protect a significant Hotspot Intervention Area from forest degradation by assisting local farmers to protect its abundant natural resources through community and household-based interventions.
To enhance our efforts to improve labor practices on cocoa farms, Sucden joined the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) in November 2019 as a contributing partner. The expertise of ICI is helping us to evaluate and improve our child labor monitoring and remediation programs in Ghana and Ivory Coast.
Read more about our work to source sustainable cocoa.
We are developing an approach that takes into consideration the inherently complex character of the coffee supply chain and embeds sustainability initiatives at farm, landscape and planet levels. Compliance with our internal standards is assured by our Coffee Supplier Code of Conduct which is being introduced to suppliers in various origins.
The Voluntary Sustainability Standards, such as those introduced by Rainforest Alliance, UTZ and 4C, have always been an important part of our sustainability approach. Our objective is to continue to increase the share of certified coffee in our trade, to achieve 50% by 2025.
Moreover Sucden is a member of the Sustainable Coffee Challenge led by Conservation International. Our commitment to the Challenge, ‘help to build a resilient coffee supply chain’ focus on:
- improving livelihoods of growers and workers, through income diversification and improved labor conditions;
- sustaining supply in a socially and environmentally responsible way, through increased productivity and enhanced resilience of coffee production systems;
- conserving nature through forest protection and improved water resource management.
Agricultural and community programs
Sucden has extensive coffee sourcing operations in India, Indonesia and Vietnam and we work directly with farmers in each origin on agricultural and community programs.
One such example is our EMPOWER Robusta Smallholders program in South Sumatra, Indonesia, which is aimed at training farmers to diversify incomes from coffee and other associated crops, reduce agrochemicals, and halting deforestation through incentives. A key program objective is to build the resilience of future generations of coffee farmers.
Another example is our partnership with the local Forestry College in Karnataka, India, to revive the self-sustaining, diversified coffee farming landscape in the region by promoting increased tree cover and eco-friendly practices, via the training of farmers by local experts, and the participation of college students to supply the project with necessary planting material and to support further on-farm work.
Sucden is heavily involved in sugar beet production in Russia and has a long-standing commitment to local environmental and community endeavors. Our efforts include the maintenance of top-soil quality and the protection of air and water quality. This work has been endorsed by many of our sugar clients who are interested in the sustainability and traceability of the products they buy. Our Russian business is FSSC 22000 certified and we are members of Sedex, the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) and Ecovadis.
In 2019, audited zones achieved gold and silver status, and the Group produced 181,351 tons of FSA certified sugar in Russia, out of about 800,000 tons.
In addition, we are committed to reducing our utility usage and cutting the production of waste. In 2019 and 2020, Sucden Russia focused on identifying actions to optimize energy efficiency and carbon footprint and is making substantial investments and putting in significant organizational effort to optimize waste management and water consumption.