The need for climate action

Every sector needs to play its part in tackling the climate crisis, and sugarcane is no exception.

To avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, global warming needs to be kept below 1.5°C

Greenhouse gas emissions must nearly halve by 2030, and drop to net zero by 2050

Sugarcane production emits more than 400 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year

Climate impacts in the sugarcane sector

The world is facing a climate crisis and it is already impacting the sugarcane sector.
  • Climate change is affecting sugarcane yields in some regions
  • Increased heat poses health risks to workers
  • Lost production threatens increased unemployment, migration and poverty
  • This could drive up prices of food and fuel, and disrupt entire supply chains.

To find out more about the challenges sugarcane producers are facing because of climate change, how Bonsucro is helping the sector adapt and mitigate, visit our climate action hub.

climate action in sugarcane

Why science based targets?

The goal of the Paris Agreement is to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. Scientists agree that warming beyond this level is likely to have catastrophic impacts.

A science-based target quantifies the greenhouse gas emissions reductions that a company needs to achieve to align with this goal. This is a paradigm shift for most companies: a science-based target is not about making the emissions reductions you think you can achieve, but what the science says you need to achieve to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

The concept has been pioneered by the Science-Based Targets initiative – an organisation that provides a robust standard, technical framework and guidance for companies to establish science-based climate targets.

Targets are based on “mitigation pathways”, which map out how emissions can be reduced at the speed and scale required. As well as global, cross-sector mitigation pathways, sector-specific mitigation pathways have been developed for some sectors to reflect their unique challenges and opportunities for emissions reductions.

Forestry, land use and agriculture (FLAG) emissions

The SBTi has introduced FLAG targets to explicitly address emissions that come from forest, land and agriculture activities. This fills an important gap, since agriculture, forestry and other land use accounts for nearly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Added to this, FLAG activities offer opportunities to remove carbon from the atmosphere, which is critical in achieving net zero and keeping warming below 1.5°C.

climate action in sugarcane

FLAG are responsible for ~23% of global emissions

climate action in sugarcane

Opportunities to remove carbon from atmosphere

climate action in sugarcane

~77% of emissions from sugarcane production are at the farming stage

ClimateCane Tracker science based targets

Introducing the ClimateCane Tracker

The Bonsucro ClimateCane Tracker has been designed for companies that want to set science-based FLAG targets specifically for sugarcane production. As a pathway developed for the sugarcane sector, it offers a tailored approach to setting greenhouse gas emission targets. It was designed using the SBTIi’s guidance on forest, land and agriculture (FLAG) emissions.

The ClimateCane Tracker provides a year-on-year reduction rate that’s specific to your company, based on your growth, the region(s) where you operate, overall production forecasts for the sugarcane industry and required reductions. This allows companies to grow their overall business, while providing a pathway for reduction that’s still rigorous enough for climate science expectations.

What data goes into the ClimateCane Tracker?

Before diving into the tool, it’s helpful to know the types of data and information you’ll need.

The ClimateCane Tracker uses five datasets: 

  1. Production forecasts of sugarcane from 2015 to 2050 
  2. Regionalised yields of sugarcane production
  3. Land management emissions from sugarcane production 
  4. Land-use change emissions allocated to sugarcane 
  5. A target value for removals allocated to on-farm sugarcane production.

To match these datasets, you need:

1. Base year – decide what base year your company would like to use.
2. Target year – this is the year of your near-term or long-term goal.
3. FLAG emissions – data for your base year broken down into land-use change, land management and removals.
4. Production – ideally, you need raw production amounts in tonnes of fresh weight of sugarcane grown or procured by your company. 
5. Geography – the specific country where each volume of sugar was grown.

The ClimateCane Tracker has been designed to work in conjunction with the Bonsucro Calculator. However if you do not have the data needed, default data is available within the tool.

Guidance on how to collect and put the data into the tool is outlined in the user guide.

Who is the ClimateCane Tracker for?

The ClimateCane Tracker is a tool exclusively for Bonsucro members.

It is primarily aimed at supply-side – farms and mills. However, downstream companies can use the ClimateCane Tracker for sugarcane-specific targets, or use the SBTi FLAG sector pathway.

Downstream companies can also use it to promote emission reduction planning/strategies to engage their suppliers, plan capacity-building projects, etc.

climate action in sugarcane
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