Voluntary sustainability standards could significantly reduce detrimental impacts of global agriculture (Webinar)

Briefing or opinion
Webinar

Published 23rd April 2020 by Evidensia. Authored by Evidensia

Summary

The label on the grocery package contains the reassuring words, “sustainably sourced.” But what does that actually mean for the environment? Researchers at the University of Minnesota are trying to answer that question with a careful study of one of the world’s largest commodities. Their methodology can serve as a framework allowing governments, corporations and shoppers to judge the potential merits of certifications and other sustainability policies. In this webinar, researchers will present an analysis of sugar cane and the role of Bonsucro, which promotes a set of voluntary sustainability standards for sugar cane and has been adopted by some of the world’s biggest sugar buyers, including General Mills, Unilever, and Coca-Cola. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that if sugar cane growers and major buyers across the globe meet Bonsucro standards, the environmental benefits would be great. But it comes with a big catch. The problem is that attaining the full benefits of Bonsucro would require what may be practical and political impossibilities. As a result, companies might not be able to achieve 100 percent of their sustainability commitments through Bonsucro unless the standards are relaxed, exceptions are created for regions like Northern India, or a third of that nation’s sugar farmers receive enough incentives to replace sugar with a new crop! This webinar explores this case study with co-author Derric Pennington. Nicolas Viart (Bonsucro) discusses its implications for future standard revisions and compliance setting.

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Voluntary sustainability standards could significantly reduce detrimental impacts of global agriculture

Modeling study
Journal article

Published 23rd April 2020 by Evidensia. Authored by Evidensia

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