Our approach to ethical sourcing and traceability is a reflection of over 85 years of heritage as an independent importer of natural sugar cane and molasses. These products have sometimes been sourced from regions with historical human rights issues.

As part of the supply chain pillar of our Eight Pillars of CSR, we have an ethical sourcing strategy embedded in our operations. We not only audit, but visit our suppliers as part of our knowledge transfer strategy. The aim is to promote best practice, and environmentally and socially sustainable supplier businesses.

As a result of our ethical sourcing strategy, we’ve also attained accreditation with, or membership of, international bodies that require transparent and ethical business standards. These include:

Bonsucro: Ragus is a member of Bonsucro, a global non-profit, multi-stakeholder organisation fostering the economic, environmental and social sustainability in sugarcane production. Bonsucro achieves this through its leading metric-based certification scheme, and its support for continuous improvement for its members, who come from all areas of the sugarcane supply chain.

Fairtrade foundation: this requires companies to pay sustainable prices to famers and producers in developing countries. Only companies that source their products according to the organisation’s standards are able to display the Fairtrade logo.

Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex): membership of this organisation provides us with information about suppliers across four areas: labour standards, health and safety, the environment and business ethics.

Each of these organisations includes an emphasis on ethical sourcing from a social and environmental perspective. After all, a sustainable business needs to protect its environment.

We have some exciting CSR initiatives planned for our supply chain. Only 3.3% of land under sugar cane is Bonsucro certified, and our CSR strategy includes measures to help increase this amount. Over the next 18 months, we have a series of supplier visits planned to promote working towards Bonsucro accreditation. The objective is to raise awareness of Bonsucro and the benefits of participating.

Our objective is to increase the number of suppliers who embrace the standard as part of their production and business processes. It won’t be easy, not least because we’ll be challenging some traditions and entrenched ways of working.

We’ll be updating our CSR webpages, and our Sugar Talk blog, with the outcomes of our supplier visits as they happen.