Our commitment to ethical sourcing

Our approach to ethical sourcing and traceability reflects over 90 years of heritage as an independent importer of natural beet sugar, cane sugar and cane molasses. These products have sometimes been sourced from regions with historical human rights issues.

With food origin so important to consumers, we use technology to follow all our sugar, from the mill or refinery through the delivery chain to our factory and onwards into every sugar, syrup or special sugar formulation that we manufacture. This complete audit trail allows our customers to trace their Ragus sugar ingredients from field to final formulation.

Sugar suppliers’ audits

The supply chain pillar of our Ten Pillars of CSR, pillar 6, underpins our ethical sourcing strategy that is integral to our operations. We audit and visit our suppliers, to fulfil our supply chain audit requirements and as part of our knowledge transfer strategy. The aim is to promote human rights, anti-bribery and corruption 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 farmers and producers in developing countries. Only companies that source their products according to the organisation’s standards can 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 promotes ethical sourcing from a social and environmental perspective. After all, a sustainable business needs to ensure healthy ecosystems and social equity.

It is part of our CSR strategy to increase the amount of land devoted to sugar cane production that is Bonsucro certified. Ragus representatives have been promoting Bonsucro accreditation among our suppliers and customers to encourage increased awareness of its benefits.

Best practice sugarcane production

Our objective is to increase the number of suppliers who embrace the standard as part of their production and business processes. We work hard to overcome resistance from suppliers as it challenges some traditional and entrenched methodologies.

As a major cane sugar importer, some of our suppliers are based in locations where labour laws are not as strict as the UK and where bribery of public and private sector contacts is commonplace. Since the introduction of the Bribery Act 2010, which came into force from July 2011, we have formalised our previous business controls into an anti-bribery policy and have added oversight of the policy as a regular board agenda item. We have also added policies concerning human rights, anti-slavery and whistleblowing.

Contact us to learn more about our CSR and how it underpins the production of brown sugars, molasses, syrups and treacles for food, drink and pharmaceutical brands.