In April 2018, the first Bonsucro certification in China was achieved by Guangxi Ningming East Asia Sugar Co, followed by a second in May, by Guangxi East Asia Funan Refinery Sugar Co. Both are located near to the Vietnamese border in Guangxi province, and sells their products to global brands, many of whom are Bonsucro members.
Over the past few years, Bonsucro has steadily increased its engagement with the country’s sugarcane industry due to its status as a key origin and a market for sugarcane-derived products. Before the Bonsucro Standards could be used in the country, however, first they had to be registered with the China National Certification Association (CNCA). Through a partnership with SGS China the Standards were translated to Chinese, along with Bonsucro’s training materials. Bonsucro has also been working with the Guangxi Provincial Government to promote Bonsucro’s Standards and the certification process throughout the province. Earlier in June, Bonsucro, SGS China and the Guangxi Provincial Government organised a summit to introduce Bonsucro and its Standards and Certifications with over 100 participants from most millers in Guangxi. The summit was successful with a very positive response from participants.
"The country’s industry see Bonsucro as the ideal way to demonstrate their sustainability credentials in a credible, globally recognised way”. - Rick Lyu, Bonsucro
Instrumental to this acceleration in China was the appointment of Bonsucro’s Regional Director for Asia, Rick Lyu, in early 2017, which allowed greater engagement with Bonsucro stakeholders in the region. “The developments in China are very exciting for Bonsucro and its members – we are seeing a great deal of interest in Bonsucro from the Chinese industry. We are expecting a lot of growth in terms of engagement with Bonsucro in China”, said Rick. “
Achieving China's first Bonsucro certification
In April 2018, China, the world’s third largest sugar producing country after Brazil and India, became home to a Bonsucro certified sugarcane mill. Guangxi Ningming East Asia Sugar Co recently became the country’s first mill to achieve Bonsucro Production and Chain of Custody certifications following an audit by SGS, a Bonsucro Licensed Certification Body . The company forms part of Guangxi Nanning East Asia Sugar Group (EAS), whose parent company is the Thai group Mitr Phol.
The mill is located near to the Vietnamese border in Guangxi province, and it sells its products to global brands, many of whom are Bonsucro members. The company states that its vision is to “to be the leader in sugar industry in China, with most dynamic growth and sustainable development” with a mission to pursue production that is “low cost and high efficiency, and responsible to society and the environment.” According to Liang Wei, Deputy General Sales Manager, Bonsucro’s Standards are aligned with their company’s mission and vision, allowing them to become “the first company to achieve Bonsucro certification in China” as well as making customers “aware of [their] commitment in sustainable development and social responsibility.”
Isara Vongkusolkit, Board Chairman at Mitr Phol Sugar Group, explains the reasons for committing their mills to sustainability and Bonsucro certification: “The Bonsucro Standard demonstrates good practice for companies to improve their sustainability on environment, society and economy, which is in line with the strategic direction, policy, mission and vision of Mitr Phol Sugar Group. Therefore we decided to pursue Bonsucro certification.” Mitr Phol also was the first group to achieve Bonsucro certification in Thailand, and currently operates two Bonsucro certified mills in the country, Dan Chang and Phukhieo.
Chinese sugarcane cultivation is often characterised by small, dispersed farms owned by farmers, who are responsible for their own cost management. The mill says that through working directly with their supplying farmers, they could obtain benefits by implementing the Production Standard into concrete actions. “After the introduction of Bonsucro, the farms developed a detailed cost management list, so the farmers could clearly see the expenditures and get ideas about how to save costs to comprehensively improve efficiency”, explains Li Wu, Deputy General Manager-Agriculture at the mill.
In order to work towards Bonsucro certification, the company encouraged knowledge sharing through organised trainings and discussions held in advance of implementation, working through the Standard’s indicators to determine how to ensure they achieved the levels required for compliance. “During the certification process, we learned how to realise sustainable development, focusing on environmental, social and economic factors. Rather than caring only about the internal problem of the company, the company actively contributes more to the public interest,” says, Xin Shuguang, General Manager of Production. According to Mr Shuguang, throughout the process they had support and input from their clients: “We’d like to thank all of them, because the process could not have gone forward without their help”.
Rick Lyu, Bonsucro’s Regional Director for Asia said, “We are extremely pleased that yet another important landmark has been reached for sustainable sugarcane and Bonsucro, this time in China. Congratulations to Guangxi East Asia Sugar Co for all of their hard work and determination to achieve this. We look forward to more Chinese sugarcane farms and mills demonstrating their sustainability credentials using Bonsucro.”
Following their certification, Liu Xianqu, Deputy General Manager, Quality Control says that the following steps will be to introduce Bonsucro Standards to other EAS subsidiaries, “We will start with Guangxi East Asia Funan Sugar Refinery in March 2018, and our objective will also be to increase customer awareness about Bonsucro”.