Tate & Lyle Sugars hosts international team from Bonsucro at Thames Refinery

We were pleased to host the Bonsucro team for a visit to our Thames Refinery at the end of January. Bonsucro is the leading global sustainability platform and standard for sugarcane. Certification schemes such as Bonsucro are an important component of our sustainable sourcing programme, and being a certified member of Bonsucro is a big step towards our commitment to sustainably source 100% of our raw cane sugar by 2025.

The visit was a useful opportunity to connect with the international staff of Bonsucro and to show the team first hand how raw cane sugar is turned into the wide range of brown and white sugars, as well as syrups and treacles that we produce. For many of the visitors, it was the first cane sugar refinery they had visited.

We were able to show the changes we are making to our own operations to make us more sustainable, such as investments in operational efficiency and renewable energy projects to reduce our carbon emissions, and explain the work we are doing with our suppliers to address sustainability challenges in sugarcane production.

We also shared our experience of the impact of trade policy on the UK sugar sector, and particularly the impact it has on our ability to purchase raw cane sugar from the most sustainable suppliers.

The choice of where we can purchase raw sugar is determined by the UK government’s trade policies, which limit the country and quantity we can purchase and therefore limits the amount of certified sustainable sugar available for us to buy. The UK’s autonomous tariff rate quota (ATQ) for 260,000 tonnes of raw cane sugar has had a welcome impact on our ability to purchase greater quantities of sustainable raw sugar, as has the UK’s trade agreement with Australia, which produces sugar to high environmental and ethical standards. We will continue to work with Bonsucro to understand where certified sugar is available and how we can support raw sugar producers to become certified, on our journey to source 100% of our sugar sustainably by 2025.