In Brazil, the partnership is advancing this goal by aligning practices of local suppliers with the Bonsucro Standard for sustainable sugarcane. In 2011, a sugar mill in São Paulo became the first to achieve Bonsucro Certification, and Coca-Cola was the first buyer of the mill’s certified sugar. Since then, 40 sugarcane mills representing 818 thousand hectares in Brazil have been Bonsucro Certified. To mitigate the environmental impacts of sugarcane production, the standard calls for specific indicators related to ecosystem services and natural resource management. These include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, maintaining soil organic carbon, reducing fertilizer runoff and effluents, minimizing herbicide and pesticide application, reducing net water consumption, and promoting zero-loss of high conservation value areas.
Sustainable Supply Chain
We are working with mills, producer associations, universities, and the agricultural services industry to identify areas for innovation and implement better management practices to improve cane production and natural resource management. By linking projects in Brazil with other WWF endeavors in Australia and Central America, we are expanding the shared thinking and best practices.
Brazil’s Forest Code
Brazil’s new Forest Code (Law No. 12.651), in force since May 25, 2012, requires a sufficient amount of land set aside for Areas of Permanent Protection (APP) and Legal Reserve areas, on an estimated 4 million properties or approximately 21 million hectares. While the Forest Code is one part of the solution, issues still remain as deforestation is still permitted in 880,000 square kilometers (the equivalent of the total combined area of California, Oregon, and Washington, (Soares-Filho et al 2014). Deforestation rates have surged by 150 percent during 2009 to 2012 in the Cerrado, a vast tropical savannah. To combat this trend, WWF is working in support of a concept called “Smart Compensation,” whereby areas with high conservation value (i.e., landscapes with important functional and ecological attributes including habitat integrity, wildlife corridors, carbon stocks, and water resources) could provide a cost-effective way for producers to get in compliance.
For the sugarcane sector and Bonsucro, WWF is in the process of developing spatial maps of these priority areas for Smart Compensation in the Atlantic Forests and how to make that opportunity for Forest Code compliance available to landowners, as well as working to identify opportunities for best practices in reforestation.
For more information about our work in the Atlantic Forests, or to connect with local experts, contact us.