• Cane refiners assist in delivering Europe's development goals as they use different raw material for sugar

In the Media

The Bonsucro Certification: what it means and how it works

Bonsucro is an international not for-profit, multistakeholder governance group with more than 500 members in more than 40 countries around the world including farmers, millers, traders, buyers, and support organisations. Established in 2008, Bonsucro sets sustainability standards and certifies sugar cane products including ethanol, sugar, and molasses. As of 2019, 25% of global land planted in sugar cane was Bonsucro certified, with Bonsucro certified sugar accounting for more than 4% of global sugar production.


The Bonsucro Certification System consists of 3 main elements:

1.         Standards:

Bonsucro has developed 2 standards:

  • The “Bonsucro Production Standard” contains principles and criteria for achieving sustainable production of sugarcane and all sugarcane derived products in respect of economic, social and environmental dimensions.

  • The “Bonsucro Mass Balance Chain of Custody Standard” contains a set of technical and administrative requirements for enabling the traceability of claims along the sustainable production of Bonsucro sugarcane and all sugarcane derived products along the supply chain including production, transportation, warehousing and trade of sugarcane and all sugarcane derived products. It applies to any organisation purchasing, handling or trading Bonsucro-compliant material who wishes to make any claim about the status of the material. A list of organisations in the EU and UK that currently hold the Bonsucro Chain of Custody Standard certification can be found in the Annex.

2.      Guidance for implementation:

Bonsucro has developed guidance documents for members that provide further information on how to become compliant with the Bonsucro Production Standard and/or Chain of Custody Standard.

3.        Certification Protocol:

Bonsucro has developed a Certification Protocol for auditors that lists the process and procedures for certification against the Bonsucro Production Standards. This includes:

  • rules and requirements for independent Certification Bodies to audit against the Bonsucro standards, and

  • audit procedures for independent Certification Bodies to verify compliance with the Bonsucro Standards.

Together these 3 elements form the Bonsucro Certification System. As such, these individual documents must always be used in relation to each other.


  • The certificate holder is the mill, which has the ultimate responsibility for compliance with the Bonsucro Standard. The unit of certification is the mill and its cane supplying area and includes all relevant activities on the farms, mill site, including residue production and power export.

  •  The cane supply area included in the unit of certification comprises of the farms/estates supplying cane in conformity with the Bonsucro Standard. This may be 100 % of the farms/estates supplying cane to the mill, or a lesser number. In the latter case only a respective percentage of the mill’s production would be considered as Bonsucro or Bonsucro EU certified, in accordance with the principles set in the Bonsucro and Bonsucro EU Mass Balance Chain of Custody Standards.

  •  To guarantee that the sugarcane included in the unit of certification is actually processed by the mill, the mill must have a management system in place to ensure that the sugarcane processed at the mill is coming from a given field included in the unit of certification. If the mill is purchasing sugarcane, sugar or biofuel not produced within the unit of certification, it shall demonstrate that the sources of production fulfil the requirements of the Bonsucro and Bonsucro EU Production Standards, by way of inclusion in the unit and scope of certification of a certified operator.


  • Audits are conducted on the mill and on a sample of individual farms/estates in the cane supply area supplying cane to the mill as per the sampling methodology outlined in the Bonsucro Certification Protocol.

  • In order to achieve certification with the Bonsucro Production Standard:

               o  Full compliance with the 16 core indicators (plus Principle 6 for certification against Bonsucro EU) is required, plus

               o  A minimum of 80 % of all the indicators must be satisfied. To be considered satisfied, an indicator which applies 

                  to mill and farm must be met by both entities.


  •  A mill that applies for certification against the Bonsucro Standard must also apply for certification against the Bonsucro Chain of Custody Standard. A certificate can only be issued when the mill is found compliant with both Standards. A mill cannot be issued a Bonsucro Production Standard certificate without being in compliance with the Chain of Custody Standard.

  •  The result of the audit will be a volume of the Bonsucro certified sugarcane products based on a proportion of sugarcane supplied to the mill. The certification decision will be based on the result provided by the Bonsucro Calculator (tab example). Data must be collected by growers and millers and verified during the audit process.

  •  The audit will be performed according to the frequency defined by Bonsucro in the Certification Protocol. The audit must be performed by Bonsucro Licensed Certification Bodies. (more info available in the Bonsucro Certification Protocol).


Chain of Custody-Certified companies in the EU and the UK.


AGRANA Zucker GmbH


AB Azucarera Iberia S.L.


Braskem Netherlands B.V.




E&A Scheer BV


ED&F Man Molasses B.V


ED&F Man Sugar Limited

United Kingdom

Ferrero Trading Lux SA


Mondi Szada Kft.


Peter Cremer GmbH


Sidul Açúcares, Unipessoal Lda.




Tetra Pak Group


United Molasses Trading Ltd

United Kingdom