Sustainable agricultural practices: international assessments continue
Adding value to production
The Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI Platform) is a non-profit organization created to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and best practices at a pre-competitive level in order to support the development and implementation of sustainable agricultural practices. In 2015, Tereos became the first French sugar group to join this major initiative, which now unites the leading international players of the food and beverage sector.
Having committed to ensuring that 75% of its raw materials are certified or evaluated as sustainable by 2020, the Group has chosen to have its progress in this field assessed against the SAI Platform’s “Farm Sustainability Assessment” (FSA) standard.
Tereos initially directed this approach at the Group’s 12,000 cooperative associates. All were certified either gold or silver in 2016 (a result that has since been improved upon with their certification being renewed in summer 2019). At the end of 2017, our agricultural suppliers in the Czech Republic and Spain also successfully gained the certification. This year, the practice was extended to Réunion and Romania:
A methodology based on self-assessment
In accordance with the SAI Platform’s assessment methodology, a sample of the associates is selected and each must complete a questionnaire concerning the practices used on their farm. The questionnaire addresses 112 criteria divided into three categories: environmental protection, economic management, and the social circumstances of its employees and local communities. Following these self-assessments, a sample of the farms is audited by an independent body that assesses whether or not good practices are in place.
“Getting growers to commit to sustainable agriculture is part of the approach being taken by European producers in order to limit inputs and guarantee the quality of production,” stresses Florent Thibault, Agricultural Director at Tereos Réunion. This is the approach that the audit has just substantiated, and it reflects the high sustainability of Réunion’s sugar.”
In April 2019, 60% of Tereos’ raw materials were certified or evaluated as sustainable, and this is without considering the latest assessments in Romania and Réunion. “We owe these very good results to our partner growers who have committed to a long-term sustainable approach and have agreed to be audited for these commitments,” concludes Josselin Dhaille, Sugar Beet Supply Manager at Tereos Romania. “Thanks to them we can sustain the relationships of trust that we nurture on a day-to-day basis with our customers and consumers.”