Social dialogue and living wages bring about innovation in the sugar sector
CNV Internationaal is activily engaging in improving labour conditions of workers at the beginning of the cane sugar supply chain. Therefore we became a member of the Bonsucro Production Standard has mainly focused on environmental and economic sustainability. Social issues often seem to be less visible in audit reports, issues like extremely long working days, piecework rates far below the living wage, not enough break time, and not enough drinking water. But also the lack of opportunity to freely organise as workers seems to be a challenge to capture in audits.
Now it’s time to focus more on the development of social sustainability. CNV Internationaal, a member of Bonsucro, the international standard for sustainable sugar, has been actively involved in updating this standard since 2019. The new version of the Bonsucro Production Standard aims to ensure greater sustainability in the worldwide international sugar value chain and is close to getting approved.
European trade union organisations and investors expect the updated standard to provide a roadmap towards a living wage, to help close the actual gap. These groups are seeking greater social sustainability and labour improvements for the millions of workers who make global growth and prosperity possible, year after year.
European investors support living wage
European investors in the international sugar chain also want to make the sector more socially sustainable and improve labour conditions. Therefore, they too support the inclusion of a living wage in the Bonsucro Standard. Together with CNV Internationaal they presented a roadmap on 28 October 2021.
Their aim is to motivate the different actors in the chain to cooperate in various ways, including the use of social dialogue and pilot projects, to progressively achieve a living wage for workers in the sugar sector.
Pathway to living wage
Including a pathway to a living wage in a progressive and concerted manner will enhance the reputation of this standard and help to avoid labour and human rights violations, such as child or forced labour.
It is time to act. To modernise. To take a major leap towards real sustainability in the international sugar chain. Bonsucro can play a significant role in achieving this goal.
A living wage throughout the cane sugar supply chain
Position paper & road map
PLFW - Financials for Living Wage
Research - The Sugarcane Value Chain in Latin America and Asia
The road map is based on the research "The Sugarcane Value Chain in Latin America and Asia: Main Actors, Market Mechanisms, Labour Issues and Opportunities" realized by Profundo. The research includes a mapping of market dynamics, main actors, financiers, price formation, and social and environmental issues in a selection of producing countries. The study focuses on five Latin American countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Peru) and three countries in Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam).
The Sugarcane Value Chain in Latin America and Asia
Main Actors, Market Mechanisms, Labour Issues and Opportunities
"More attention to people
and workers rights"
CNV Internationaal has been working actively together with Bonsucro and trade unions in Central and South America to contribute to the production standard. CNV held a working session in 2019 to gather input for the working group for the revision process. We did this in cooperation with trade unions, Bonsucro representatives, work group members, various experts, and companies from Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Bolivia.
CNV Internationaal, as a member of Bonsucro is actively engaginge in the Bonsucro Production Standard. We do this not by ourselves but in close contact with the trade unions working in sugar in the different countries in Latin America to be make sure that the voices of the workers are heard. We support trade unions as well on the ground in their daily work to strengthen the social dialogue with employers to come up with solutions that benefit all people involved.
Sugar sector related news updates