Suiker Unie: International recognition for sustainability

Published: 09-07-2015

Suiker Unie has received two top prizes for its sustainability efforts. The international Sustainable Agricultural Initiative (SAI) awarded a Gold Level to Suiker Unie’s Unitip registration and advice program. The sugar producer also won gold status from EcoVadis, an independent sustainability benchmarking institution.

Suiker Unie’s Unitip system enables sugar beet growers to record their crop growing data in a digital cultivation improvement program. The data, which concerns fertilizers, tillage practices, sowing date and number of plants, helps growers calculate and reduce the use of energy, fertilizers and crop protection products. Suiker Unie analyses the data gathered through Unitip and then advises farmers on the type and quantity of plant protection products and the frequency and timing of use, for instance. Participating growers not only grow more sustainably, they also increase their crop yield while cutting costs. Unitip also compares cultivation results in a particular area, enabling growers to learn from each other.

After extensive benchmarking, SAI awarded Unitip a Gold Level. This status has convinced Suiker Unie to get even more growers involved in making their cultivation practices more sustainable. Currently, Unitip is used on about 20% of the total sugar beet acreage grown by the 9,000 growers that supply Suiker Unie.

Suiker Unie is the only sugar producer in Europe that has achieved gold status. SAI, which consists mainly of large international food manufacturers, fosters sustainable agriculture so large food multinationals can achieve their aim of buying 100% sustainably sourced raw materials within the next five years. Suiker Unie can help them achieve this goal.

Supplier Evaluation

In 2015, Suiker Unie again received gold status from Ecovadis, an independent benchmarking institution that evaluates suppliers’ sustainability. Prolonging its 2014 gold status, Suiker Unie was again considered part of the top 2% of all companies taking part in the Ecovadis evaluation.

Suiker Unie took part in the evaluation for the third year running. In this evaluation, Ecovadis assessed more than 150 industries in four important areas of sustainability: the environment, working conditions, fair trade and suppliers. Ecovadis is an independent agency working for more than forty multinationals.

Suiker Unie was re-evaluated in May 2015, resulting in a score of 72 out of a possible 100, up 5 points from its 2014 score. Suiker Unie improved its performance in ‘environment’ and ‘sustainable procurement’. Thanks to its total score it earned gold status.

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