Through global sourcing efforts, in collaboration with bottling partners, Coca-Cola is contracted to source over 1 million tons of more sustainable sugar in 2016. This achievement will position The Coca-Cola Company at an estimated 15-20 percent toward the Company’s goal to sustainably source 100 percent of its sugar by 2020. Coca-Cola anticipates doubling the amount of sugar it sustainably sources over the next year.
“Meaningful progress is important and being able to source 1 million tons of more sustainable sugar this year is progress worth noting, but we have a lot more work to do,” said Matt Swindall, Senior Director, Procurement (Global Nutritive Sweeteners), The Coca-Cola Company. “Sweeteners make up over a quarter of the agricultural ingredients outlined in our overall sourcing goal. We have been diligently working to integrate sustainability into our sourcing of all of them—cane sugar, beet sugar, corn and stevia—and also improve their productivity. We’re happy with where our program is heading and dedicated to more results.”
Coca-Cola’s ability to sustainably source 1 million tons of sugar builds on the approximately half million tons of Bonsucro-certified sugar Coca-Cola sourced in 2015, a 120 percent increase over its projected purchase goal. Bonsucro certification is The Coca-Cola Company’s preferred method for sugarcane mills and growers to demonstrate compliance with the Company’s Sustainable Agriculture Guiding Principles (SAGP), which, among other things, set standards to be met by farm suppliers for human and workplace rights, environmental protection, and responsible farming management.
Coca-Cola worked with Bonsucro members to create the first global metric standard for sustainable sugarcane production and was the first to purchase Bonsucro-certified sugar in 2011. The Company also achieved Bonsucro Chain of Custody Standard certification, which enables the tracking of claims on the sustainable production of Bonsucro sugarcane and all sugarcane-derived products along the entire supply chain. In October 2015, Coca-Cola received the 2015 Bonsucro Sustainability Award for Buyers Supporting Transformational Change. The award recognizes the Coca-Cola system's efforts to support critical and progressive advancements in the sugarcane sector.
“From the beginning, Coca-Cola has been a critical partner for Bonsucro, first helping develop the standard and then adopting it into practice,” said Simon Usher, CEO, Bonsucro. “Equally, or more importantly, they are championing sustainable sugarcane production, influencing suppliers and the overall sector, and truly taking a leadership role by recruiting new members.”
Working in 207 countries facing diverse challenges, Coca-Cola recognizes that multiple solutions are required to positively impact the sugarcane sector and meet its sourcing goal. The Company is committed to working with Bonsucro and others to realize supply chain improvements. Fifteen of Coca-Cola’s top bottlers, representing approximately 85 percent of the Coca-Cola system’s sugar purchases, have committed to unique plans to reach the 2020 target, and there are a variety of sugar stakeholder management and engagement, and procurement activities underway in all geographies.
Efforts include supporting pilot suppliers in Mexico to assess Bonsucro readiness; collaborating with Bonsucro to certify suppliers and Brazil; sourcing 100 percent Bonsucro-certified sugar through Azunosa in Honduras; recognizing the Smartcane standard in Australia and encouraging suppliers there to achieve Bonsucro certification; and working with suppliers in Africa to ensure global recognition of local programs.
In addition, Coca-Cola is using its influence as a major buyer of sugar to help protect the land rights of local communities. In 2013, the Company committed to zero tolerance for land grabbing and began conducting studies on land rights, child labor and forced labor practices in its main sugarcane production countries. To date, sugar studies have been published in Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
Coca-Cola’s progress on sugar is part of a larger system-wide goal, set in 2013, to sustainably source 100 percent of its priority ingredients by 2020. Coca-Cola priority ingredients include cane and beet sugar, high fructose corn syrup, stevia, tea, coffee, oranges, lemons, grapes, apples, mangos, pulp and paper fiber for packaging, palm oil and soy.
“Many of us who work in sustainability constantly say sustainability is a journey. And it is. Now that we’re sustainably sourcing nearly 20 percent of our sugar, my focus is on that remaining 80 percent needed to meet our goal, and advancing the sourcing of our other key agricultural ingredients. Our suppliers have really stepped up to the challenge of helping us build a sustainably-sourced supply chain. Their collaboration has been and always will be critical to our program’s success,” said Ben Jordan, Procurement Director of Global Sustainable Agriculture, The Coca-Cola Company.
Learn more about The Coca-Cola Company’s Sustainable Agriculture program.