On September 7 2023, we were delighted to celebrate the arrival of the first tariff-free shipment of sugar from Australia in 50 years under a new free trade agreement between the two countries.
Prior to 1973, 30% of Australian sugar exports came to the United Kingdom, and Australian sugar made up 20% of the U.K.’s entire consumption. The return of Australian sugar to the U.K. is therefore a significant milestone for our business and for the industry in Australia, which produces sugar to high environmental and ethical standards.
The arrival of the vessel marks another step on our journey towards purchasing 100% sustainably sourced raw sugar. All of the raw sugar we purchase from Australia is certified against respected sustainability standards, including the Smartcane BMP programme.
Smartcane BMP is a local programme originally developed by the Australian sugar industry to help protect Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. It is a holistic programme, with a strong focus on environmental standards like soil health, plant nutrition, drainage and irrigation, and also wider sustainability standards such as labour management and workplace health and safety.
As part of the celebrations, the Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom visited Thames Refinery, unveiling a plaque in honor of the milestone. He also toured our Museum, raw sugar shed and jetty, and met with the captain of the vessel that sailed 13,000 nautical miles on a journey of more than seven weeks from Queensland to the Thames Refinery to deliver 33,000 metric tonnes of raw sugar.