Key areas of activity
A key part of Südzucker's sustainability program focuses on the value chain upstream of its production activities.
Südzucker Group’s purchasing departments consider ecological, business and social aspects when procuring the goods and services required to ensure appropriate supplies of agricultural raw materials, operating supplies, capital and maintenance items, as well as services. The Supplier Code of Conduct is part of the competitive bidding process and contract negotiations. Together with Südzucker’s environmental, labor and social standards guidelines, this code of conduct ensures that procurement remains sustainable. It applies to suppliers along the entire value chain. Südzucker audits its suppliers’ sites to ensure they adhere to these principles. The purchasing department is subject to various annual audits and is certified in compliance with standards such as ISO 9001 or the International Food Standard.
Experimental cultivation, managing our farming operations and transferring knowledge contribute to both securing raw material supplies and improving the efficiencies of our raw material suppliers. Groupwide agricultural research focuses on science-based assistance, development of technology and consultation for all agricultural raw materials used by Südzucker Group. Sugar beets are front and center.
Advisory services for modern and sustainable farming
Our sugar beet business clearly demonstrates that planting and harvesting methods can be optimized by working with farmers' academic and research associations, our in-house farming and own research department, our Bodengesundheitsdienst division and research institutes such as the Sugar Beet Research Institute in Göttingen, Germany, and the International Institute for Beet Research in Brussels, Belgium. These enable us to provide farmers with comprehensive advisory services on subjects such as soil treatment, seed selection, fertilization, plant protection, soil fertility and harvest, and continuously work towards making sugar beet cultivation more sustainable, efficient and competitive. The aim of the Mont Blanc consultation initiative is to intensify and network the very diverse regionally coordinated consultation concepts and to share experiences among the experts of the group's companies.
What started out with a small number of participants has today developed into a large international network from all kinds of Areas both within and outside the Südzucker Group. Südzucker has established a systematic framework for this network. The findings from research work initiated and financed by Südzucker also feed into this network.
Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform
Südzucker is a member of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI), the leading global initiative for promoting sustainable farming methods. Food producers and their raw material suppliers join SAI to document their adherence to wide-ranging sustainability criteria.
In 2016, Südzucker AG and its beet growers in Germany, Belgium, France and Poland demonstrated that they comply with a comprehensive set of sustainability criteria related to sugar beet cultivation. AGRANA uses the Farm Sustainability Assessment developed by SAI to demonstrate sustainable agricultural practices at the farms under contract to supply sugar beets in Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Romania, for potatoes in Austria and apples in Hungary.
Südzucker group launches and promotes countless programs that raw material suppliers use to contribute to biodiversity. Seed mixtures for flowers at the edge of the field have been distributed in Germany since 2014, and in France, Belgium and Poland since 2016. In Austria, a seed mixture of flowers was used as an alternative to other intermediate crops. This helps loosen the soil, mobilize nutrients and activate soil organisms in the fields. The blooming fields and field edges also provide an ideal easement for wildlife, a bee pasture and an attractive landscape.