Ethical Sugar have now organised four seminars in Brazil, bringing together trade unions, academics, campaign groups, government departments and companies to discuss pressing issues in the sugar industry.
In concert with the Institute for Environment and Development (IMAD) and the Federal University of Grande Dourados, the fourth seminar was held in Mato Grosso do Sol during 8-9 November 2012. Topics discussed included management of land rights, progress on the Brazilian ‘National Commitment’ seal, and mitigating negative impacts on local communities and indigenous people.
Out of the seminar, the Charter of Dourados (see page 11) was produced, which establish a joint position on the treatment of land under cane claimed by indigenous people in Mato Grosso do Sul. Work is now progressing to have relevant state officials, millers and farmers sign a Memorandum of Understanding.
Ethical Sugar have been an active member of Bonsucro since its inception in 2008. Bonsucro is an international multi-stakeholder organisation which has developed a sustainability standard against which sugarcane producers around the world can be certified by independent auditors.
By attending its Annual General Meetings and working on the Management Committee during an earlier phase of the organisation, we have tried to make sure that human rights and labour rights have been strengthened in the standard and treated with integrity within the certification and membership process. In July 2014 we concluded our two-year involvement in the standard revision process.
In November 2015 Ethical Sugar was asked to join the Land Policy Roundtable Committee of Illovo, Africa’s biggest sugar producer. This committee will act in an advisory committee to help Illovo to implement its Land Guidelines.
Ethical Sugar are also members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB). Like Bonsucro, the RSB is an international multi-stakeholder organisation which has developed a sustainability standard against which producers of biomaterials – e.g. sugarcane biofuel – can be certified by independent auditors. We are situated in Chamber 4 for rights-based NGOs and trade unions.