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Developing standards

In order to build a sustainable future for our industry, we need a common set of sustainability goals and standards throughout the entire value chain, from field to customer. As a major European food producer, we believe we can play an important role in bringing farmers and customers together in order to promote common understanding and develop shared standards.


Achieving this goal depends on transparent communication and working in open partnership. In order to develop effective, practical standards that can benefit customers, producers and farmers, all parties need to understand each other’s needs and requirements. We are involved in a range of activities and initiatives that support this aim.


Sustainable agriculture initiative  

The Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) is a global initiative that aims to promote the development of sustainable agriculture by raising awareness of sustainable practices across the food and drink industry. More than fifty of the world’s leading food and drinks manufacturers support SAI, including Unilever, Danone, Coca-Cola, Mondelez, Nestlé and McDonalds.

Nordzucker has been working with the SAI framework since 2012/13 in pilot projects, to meet the requirements of our beet growers in a global sustainability standard. Since 2015 Nordzucker is an official member of SAI and is engaged in the future development of the SAI standard.

Our goal is that our beet growers are at least silver level according to the Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA), while many are already performing on gold level.

This goal has been achieved in 2017, after we have carried out farmer self-assessments and external verification audits in cooperation with the growers.

Beet growers in Germany are certified according to REDcert2 which has been benchmarked to gold level according to SAI Platform.

The results of the SAI FSA assessment are part of our work to improve the sustainability performance of our beet growers in the future.

Sustainable standards in cane sourcing

Wherever possible, we apply universally accepted sustainability standards in our sourcing of sugar cane. We audit sugar cane plants according to a fixed schedule and standards defined by international bodies such as Bonsucro and SAI. These audits often involve an experienced consultant who is familiar with the local situation and applicable legislation, and who speaks the local language.

By using defined standards and clearly explaining their requirements to our suppliers, we raise awareness of the standards in a supply chain, and what suppliers need to do to meet them.

Read more about cane sourcing



Sustainability day with Coca-Cola

In April 2014, representatives from Coca-Cola attended an agricultural event arranged by Nordzucker on sustainability in the field. The event gave Coca-Cola a chance to see beet farming in action and find out about sustainability practices in beet cultivation. The group also visited the Institute of Sugar Beet Research (IfZ) testing grounds near Göttingen/Germany, to learn more about ongoing sustainability projects.

Unilever Sustainability Diploma

At the beginning of 2015, Nordzucker was awarded the Unilever Sustainability Diploma in recognition of its high sustainability standards at two of our factories. The factories had followed the Unilever Sustainability Code, which is considered to be a top industry standard. This is a further step in the development of our sustainability strategy.

“As one of our preferred suppliers, Nordzucker is one company who adopted our Sustainable Agriculture Code very early on, thus supporting us in making a difference.”

Leslie Leinders, Sustainable Sourcing Manager, Unilever

Coca-Cola HBS award

In 2014, Nordzucker was named the best supplier in the world for sustainability by Coca-Cola HBC (Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company). This award is highly prestigious, as it covers all sustainability categories.

Coca-Cola HBC is listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and is ranked second in the world among drinks manufacturers. The award inspires us to continue giving our best to increase our support for sustainable beet farming in Europe.

“We really appreciate your support for Coca-Cola HBC. Your valuable contributions towards our sustainability strategy, and your recent efforts to address occupational health and safety, are all testament to your long-term dedication to sustainability.”

Gary Brewster, Sustainability Director at Coca-Cola HBC