Bittersweet. Sugar cane in food products often produced unsustainably

“Bittersweet”, a report published by SUPPLY CHA!NGE partner SOMO on Dec. 1st 2015, finds that rights of workers and communities are often at stake in the production of sugar cane. The study indicates that sustainability issues are widespread. Jobs in the sugar cane sector are often insecure, badly paid and health and safety regulations are not always respected. In some producing countries even forced labour and child labour is reported. The production of sugar cane is also linked to harmful environmental impacts and land grab.

Sugar-using companies seem little interested

Although eighty per cent of sugar produced worldwide comes from sugar cane, at most 4.5 per cent of global production is sustainably certified. 20% of all sugar consumed in the EU is produced from sugar cane that is imported to meet the EU sugar demand. Sugar using companies, however, hardly ever ask for the origin of sugar according to one of Europe’s largest sugar refiners.

Download the study “Bittersweet” here (in English)