The EU Beet Sugar Sustainability Partnership (EU BSSP) has announced the launch of its first joint initiative on sustainability throughout the sector.

At an event hosted by DG AGRI at the EU Pavilion of EXPO Milan 2015 on 9 September, the partnership announced the release of the Good Practices – a tool designed to illustrate the sustainability progress of the European beet sugar sector and to help spread the uptake of environmental and social management from field to factory. The Good Practices reflect the achievements of beet growers and sugar manufacturers together with their workers, and serve as a basis of dialogue with stakeholders’ sustainability progress for European beet sugar, already renowned as one of the world’s most sustainable crops.

CIBE President Jørn Dalby highlighted: “the Good Practices show the very high level of sustainability of sugar beet in the EU and the way growers and the sector have invested to work smartly and efficiently”. “EU growers can be proud of their constant improvement which will now take place in an ever changing and challenging context’, he added.

Johann Marihart, President of CEFS, described the BSSP initiative as “an initiative that proves that we have a positive grounding in sustainability and that we know where our remaining challenges lie.” He also added: “We promote an approach that is commensurate with the risks of each supply chain. In the case of beet sugar, we believe the EU’s evidence-based and precautionary regulatory regime, coupled with our long-standing, strong and local partnerships between beet growers, sugar producers and labour unions, ensures the sustainability risks are lower here than anywhere else in the sugar world.”

Harald Wiedenhofer, Secretary General of EFFAT, described the involvement of trade unions in delivering sustainability and said: “We are in favour of joint multilateral initiatives amongst stakeholders involving workers and their trade unions. It represents a very good example not only for the employers but also for social partners. Well-functioning social dialogue helps to cope with sustainability challenges. This is the best lesson we can get from the recent economic crisis.”

Some 85 participants from companies, trade associations, investors and others stakeholders took part in the event and welcomed positively the launch of the Good Practices. Delegates took active part in the discussions and contributed to deepening the understanding of the Good Practices, the way they will be used practically, as well as their role in the trade of sustainable sugar.

Members of the partnership expressed their commitment to continuing working in collaboration with each other and to following up on their joint initiative, in response to stakeholders’ feedback. A summary of the key themes discussed at the EXPO Milan event appears below.

Read the full press release here.