Group Sucres et Denrées (Sucden) is committed to being a good corporate citizen and in helping the communities and people where we work. Our social efforts have been focused thus far in France and in Côte d’Ivoire but we are now moving much more into working closely with the farmers and communities that are the cornerstone of our business. We will help them improve the productivity of their farms as well as the quality of their crops and to protect the environment. We will continue to seek out opportunities to provide support, both financial and in-kind, in the origins in which we operate. Our support comes via the Foundation Sucres et Denrées as well as through Group funding.
The Foundation Sucres et Denrées
The Foundation was established to help develop agriculture in West Africa. Its original mission was the revival of regional agriculture and breeding in the Odienne region of Côte d’Ivoire. Today, however, the Foundation is involved in the support of cocoa communities in Côte d’Ivoire
In 2014, the Foundation committed to a five-year programme to provide access to education for children in cocoa-growing communities in Côte d’Ivoire. In addition, the Foundation will sponsor gender equity efforts to enable women more influence in their families and communities. Focus will also be on eliminating the worst forms of child labor. The Foundation will work with established NGOs who have extensive experience working on these important initiatives.
Group Sucres et Denrées
Sucden committed financial support through 2019 for the prevention of HIV/AIDS in West Africa through Sidaction, a French agency dedicated to the elimination of this deadly disease. Work will be provided through local organizations in Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Togo to prevent the proliferation of HIV/AIDS, especially in pregnant women, and to help distribute medical treatment to infected persons.
The Group also sponsors APFEE, which is a French association working to ensure that all children, regardless of their socio-economic class are provided access to education. The association works through Coups de Pouce Cle, which are reading and writing clubs for elementary school children, and fosters the involvement of the students’ parents and educators.
Sustainability at Origin
We are in the initial stages of implementing a cocoa sustainability program in Côte d’Ivoire. Our work will focus on productivity and community initiatives. Sucden Côte d’Ivoire will work directly, and via a third-party implementer, with farmers and coops already in our existing sourcing network. Efforts will be made to help them improve agricultural practices and provide access to inputs (both improved planting material and fertilizer). We intend to provide community support in conjunction with external organizations with expertise and experience in this area.
In addition, we are establishing a cocoa sustainability program in Asia, with the primary emphasis in Indonesia. We recently hired an experienced cocoa sourcing and sustainability team and are in the process of establishing business entities in the region. Our goal will be to provide farmer training on agricultural practices and the provision of inputs and to become UTZ certified.
We are beginning to implement customer-based coffee sustainability programs in key origins such as Brazil and Central America. Much of our involvement, to date, has been via certified coffee sourcing (Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, Fairtrade) but we are starting to see an uptick in interest from customers to move beyond certification and focus on coffee-growing issues such as quality, environmental pressures and traceability.
Sucden is very involved in sugar beet production in Russia where we have had a long-standing commitment to sustainability. Our efforts here center on environmental factors such as maintaining high quality top soil and protecting the quality of the water and air. Our work has been endorsed by many of our key sugar customers who are interested in purchasing sustainably grown sugar.