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.
A sustainable future
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 similarly principled specialized organizations.
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.
Examples of our work
Our new cocoa sustainability program in Ivory Coast is focused on productivity, community and environmental initiatives. We partnered with a third-party implementer to provide training and support to farmers directly and we also work via our own internal sustainability team with farmer cooperatives in our sourcing network. Our efforts include farmer training on a variety of topics related to farm management and social concerns, geo-mapping farms, access to cocoa and native tree seedlings, certification, child labor sensitization and monitoring, and support of women’s associations, among others.
Today we work with 23 farmer organizations across the cocoa growing regions of the Ivory Coast, reaching approximately 24,000 farmers and continue to expand our sustainable footprint.
We have 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 Indonesia. It is aimed at farmer capacity building, improving livelihoods and addressing deforestation. A key program objective is to build the resilience of future generations of coffee farmers.
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 2018, our Russian agriculture business underwent an FSA (Farm Sustainability Assessment by SAI platform) verification audit and reached gold and silver status.