Sugarcane plants growing at field

The Dutch company Corbion is a manufacturer of lactic acid and lactic acid derivatives, emulsifiers, functional enzyme blends, minerals, vitamins, and algae ingredients. Part of the company’s key sustainability initiatives is the responsible sourcing initiative. It aims to create a sustainable supply chain for its agricultural raw metrials considering social, environmental, and governance practices of the supply companies. Corbion targets 100% responsible sourcing of cane sugar and palm oil by 2020, and 100% responsible sourcing of all other agricultural raw materials by 2030.

In the past years, the company focused on the responsible sourcing of cane sugar in Thailand. Together with two of its cane sugar suppliers (Mitr Phol and TRR-Saraburi), JV Total Corbion PLA and Bonsucro (a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving sustainability in the sugar cane sector), Corbion has been driving awareness of sustainability and relevance of sustainable practices for the sugar cane industry in Thailand. Corbion implemented the Bonsucro Chain of Custody standard at its manufacturing site in Rayong, Thailand and is now able to offer its customers Bonsucro certified sugar. This further improves the sustainability benefits of biochemicals and bioplastics such as PLA by ensuring the feedstocks are grown using sustainable agricultural practices and the entire supply chain operates with care for people and the environment.

The company’s partnership with its cane sugar suppliers and Bonsucro increased the momentum for sustainability in the sugar cane sector in Thailand. It created local visibility for sustainability achievements in the Thai sugar cane sector and for the potential of sugar in the bio-based economy. The partnership also supported Bonsucro certification of smallholder farmers and uptake of Bonsucro certified sugar in Thailand. According to Corbion, it is crucial to understand the value chain, collaborate with other actors in the chain, and understand their position. The partnership covers the full value chain from sugar cane farming, conversion of sugar into lactic acid, and PLA manufacturing.

Corbion’s next step is to work with its strategic suppliers on carbon footprint reduction. The company has joined the Science Based Targets initiative and is currently developing carbon footprint targets in line with the Paris agreement.

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