Sugarcane is a tall perennial grass that grows in tropical countries where high levels of rainfall and abundant sunshine combine with specific photosynthetic properties, which provide important sustainability advantages compared to most other crops.
This is because sugarcane belongs to the exclusive club of C4 plants that naturally absorb much higher levels of atmospheric CO2 during the growing cycle than the more common C3 plants. The most productive C4 plants have yields and maximum growth rates 40–50% higher than the most productive C3 species. This also contributes to a lower carbon impact, and sugarcane’s inherent sustainability.
But like an agricultural process on any scale, we need to do more, and so we are committed to cooperating with our suppliers to adopt regenerative farming practices that ecologically protect and replenish the land.
Our raw sugar suppliers are mills. Some mills farm the cane they process, some buy cane from independent farmers. Those farmers might be tiny smallholders or larger estates. Many are facing the worst effects of climate change and are least able to adapt.
If they are to continue to thrive we must work together to help them make the transition for which we are collectively responsible.
We will encourage suppliers to adopt regenerative and sustainable farming practices to help achieve net zero.
We will continue to work with suppliers to encourage them to adopt regenerative agriculture practices, this means minimising topsoil disturbance; increasing biodiversity; preventing deforestation; enhancing ecosystem services; and strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil.
We will continue to support our smallholder farmers in particular through Fairtrade, which requires farmers to practice sustainable agriculture.
We will invest in the technology needed to monitor biodiversity, water use, and deforestation risk in our supply chain.
Our case studies
Explore how we are encouraging suppliers to adopt regenerative and sustainable farming practices
Building the adaptive capacity of smallholder sugarcane
A team from Belize Sugar Industries, ASR’s mill and supplier in Belize, is helping to run a five-year initiative...Read more
Partnering with Raizen, innovators in sustainability
We recently agreed a 10-year supply agreement with Brazilian raw cane sugar miller, Raizen. Raizen is one of Brazil’s...Read more