In May 2017 Ingenio La Providencia, a sugarcane mill in Argentina, achieved certification against the Bonsucro Production & Chain of Custody Standards. La Providencia is part of Grupo Arcor, the Argentinian food company that specialises in food, confectionery, biscuits, chocolates, ice-cream, packaging and agroindustry. The audit was carried out by the certification body Control Union.
According to Modesto Magadán, Agribusiness General Manager for Grupo Arcor, Bonsucro certification was a natural companion to the group’s sustainability values. “Bonsucro certification aligns with Grupo Arcor’s Sustainable Agriculture Program. In Arcor we believe in assuring the quantity, quality, healthiness, social and environmental responsibility of the raw materials we produce as a priority for achieving a sustainable business and a key factor to give response to the future demanding global markets.”
Collaboration in action
Achieving certification was a collaborative effort between the mill and Solidaridad Foundation, another Bonsucro member. “The process of Bonsucro certification was the result of a dedicated co-working processes between Ingenio La Providencia´s multidisciplinary team, and Solidaridad Foundation, a non-profit international organisation that promotes the integration of sustainable models in the business management, based on social and environmental indicators, and who are also Bonsucro members.”, says Mr Magadán. “We would like to thank each member of these teams which have strongly collaborated through their work to make this certification possible.”
Once the decision had been made to work towards the Production Standard’s levels, the next step was to carry out a gap analysis. “The Bonsucro certification process involved a gap analysis in order to determine which main opportunities were needed to be implemented for reaching Bonsucro’s standards”, says Mr Magadán. “Some of the social and environmental opportunities to be managed that resulted from the analysis were factory performance index, type and quantity of pesticides used on the sugarcane crop, an absentee index in the mill, sugarcane performance in the field, and efficiency in the use of water for the industry process, among others. One by one, these terms and indicators were adjusted to the Standard’s demanded values through specific plans of action, which were accomplished by Ingenio La Providencia´s team along with Solidaridad Foundation.”
“Bonsucro promoted an improvement process in the company, especially in those aspects in which we did not reach the values required by the Production Standard.”
Aiming for Bonsucro certification gave the company tangible metric targets to work towards, says Mr Magadán. “Bonsucro promoted an improvement process in the company, especially in those aspects in which we did not reach the values required by the Production Standard. The Bonsucro Calculator was the main tool used to adapt our Ingenio’s management to achieve the certification.”
Significance of Bonsucro certification
Mr Magadán agrees that Arcor’s broader goals have been served well by Bonsucro membership and certification. “Bonsucro is one more expression of Arcor’s commitment to sustainability as a business strategy”, says Mr Magadán.
“The certification process was an excellent opportunity to deal with the efficiency of the processes that take place in the field and in the sugarcane mill.”
“The main goals the Bonsucro certification brings are: The insurance of sugarcane sustainable production; the possibility for Arcor to be part a group of Bonsucro members at the regional level, that drives and encourages the best sustainable agricultural practices; the definition of Grupo Arcor as a regional role model for the sugarcane business; and the positioning of La Providencia mill as the first and only Bonsucro certified mill in Argentina and in South America outside Brazil.”
Working on the Standard’s indicators gave the mill the opportunity to focus on key efficiencies in its operations, believes Mr Magadán. “The certification process was an excellent opportunity to deal with the efficiency of the processes that take place in the field and in the sugarcane mill.”
Following La Providencia’s achievement, the mill intends to focus on sustainability on a farm level. “The next steps in our working plan is to involve large sugarcane farmers which are mostly certified with GLOBALG.A.P., in hopes of improving their environmental, social and economic process efficiency to reach the Bonsucro Standard”, says Mr Magadán. “On the other hand, with the smaller sugarcane farmers the aim is to improve their development so that they can increase their competitiveness.”
“We are truly convinced that the economic, environmental and social model in this industry change platform is aligned with the future demands in crop production and a step forward in the sustainable management of the business.”
According to Mr Magadán, Grupo Arcor believes that the sustainable management of the business is the key to building value within the company. “Regarding Bonsucro, we expect to go on working together in the hope of continuing our contribution to the generation of best practice, to the sustainable development of the region and to ensuring that the Sustainable Agriculture Program is a main component of our 2020 sustainability strategy.”
The group expects to continue learning and developing its operations in alignment with the Bonsucro Standard. “We are truly convinced that the economic, environmental and social model in this industry change platform is aligned with the future demands in crop production and a step forward in the sustainable management of the business. Our expectations aspire to continue learning from joint work, from peer companies and from collective action.”
Want to know more?
- Bonsucro: To find out how your mill can obtain Bonsucro certification, please contact Miguel Hernández
- Grupo Arcor/La Providencia: To contact Grupo Arcor or La Providencia about the certification process or about purchasing certified product, please contact Modesto Magadán
- Control Union: Contact Danielle Lima for more information on Control Union’s auditing services or see a full list of Bonsucro Licensed Certification Bodies.