Sustainable Agriculture

To farm in a sustainable way, for Bunge, means supplying the food chain with quality raw materials, within pre-defined conditions and schedules, with maximum efficiency in the use of natural resources and through the promotion of food safety throughout the productive system, thereby guaranteeing continuity in such supply for future generations.  Responsible agriculture is a concept that gains ground within Bunge from year to year. To ensure that end-products are controlled and subject to best practices from their very origins, the company is present throughout the process, from field to table, and as a supplier to other agents in the productive chain.

Targets and Results

Bunge Brasil, in 2011, gave continuity to the process and promotion of sustainable development in all the links of the value chain. In the case of the pillar of Sustainable Agriculture, it made every effort to promote initiatives aimed at instilling awareness among suppliers and customers alike, and at investment in innovation and research. Its targets were as follows:

To exert greater control over areas at risk of labor uses, including working conditions that are analogous to slave labor.

  • Target achievedthe company maintained a 100% black listing of producers who failed to respect the voluntary pact imposed by Bunge. In 2011, four new black listings were imposed, but the total number of producers black listed from dealing with the company dropped from 64 to 27, suggesting that farmers are increasingly aware of the need to comply with proper and legal working conditions.

To exert greater control in relation to Ibama embargoes, maintaining the company's value chain free of any products that might have originated in areas suffering illegal deforestation as registered by the entity.

  • Target achievedthe total number of producers black listed from dealing with the company fell from 1,873 to 844, showing that producers are increasingly aligned with environmental requirements and their responsibilities.

To develop tools that help producers become more sensitive to questions of sustainable agricultural.

  • Target achievedin addition to maintaining its partnership with Embrapa (the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation), which helped increase the number of tools available to producers, the SojaPlus Program was also consolidated on this front. For the future, Bunge is studying new partnerships that should be able to significantly extend these measures to other farmable areas.

To stop the origination of soybeans cultivated in areas deforested after July 2006 in the Amazonian biome.

  • Target achieved – Fifteen producers were blocked from dealing with the company for failing to respect this commitment by Bunge. In the coming future, however, this initiative is expected to undergo a review in the light of the new Forestry Code, which is designed to become a new tool for increasing governance in the area. 1.2

To invest in education and environmental awareness.

  • Target achieved – Bunge offers precision agriculture services, a technology that identifies the ideal dosage of fertilizer that should be applied. Customers also have access to recommended fertilizer application and soil correction services, as well as investments in environmental protection, education and training.

Awareness and Training

In order to encourage good practices in the field, Bunge works with a team of agricultural specialists and through a number of institutional partnerships.  Directly, the team organized some 60 events in 2011, aimed at promoting good agricultural practices (balanced fertilization, no tillage, crop rotation and plantation management, reaching 6,500 farmers). Institutionally, two partnerships are worth a special mention: the iLPF (Plantation-Livestock-Forestry Integration) program, run in conjunction with Embrapa, and the Soja Plus program, with Abiove (Brazilian Association of the Vegetable Oil Industry) and Aprosoja (Association of Soybean Producers of the state of Mato Grosso).

The iLPF Program: Sustainable Food

The iLPF program received R$2.5 million from Bunge during the period between 2008 and 2011. The program’s objectives were as follows:

  • To produce food, and renewable energy from sustainably produced timber;
  • To reduce environmental impacts resulting from agricultural activities;
  • To preserve and protect Forest Reserves and  set aside forests;
  • To recoup degraded areas, creating the proper conditions for farming and so reducing the need to deforest new arable lands;
  • To increase the crop yields and improve the efficiency of inputs used in production;
  • To make it easier to certify and trace the origins of agricultural products;
  • To generate employment, income and better conditions for rural producers.

 Thanks to their partnership, some 20 Embrapa publications were edited and URTs (Units of Technological Reference) set up across Brazil’s regions and biomes, with around 3,000 hectares demo plots to show different iLPF systems. The results have provided growers and society as a whole with economic and environmental benefits, avoiding environmental negative impacts, especially in environments with limited biodiversity, such as large regions dominated by monoculture. More information about this system can be found at

Bunge signed a new partnership with Embrapa and, from 2012 on, new projects will be set up to encourage sustainable agriculture in Brazil.EC2

The SojaPlus Program: Agricultural Management and Best Practices

The SojaPlus (Brazilian Soybean Economic, Social and Environmental Management Program) is a movement aimed at disseminating best agricultural practices and management among growers. Its purpose is to show them how they can better manage their properties in terms of environment, labor, productivity, quality and social responsibility. Partners of Aprosoja (Brazilian Association of Soybean Producers) in the program include: Abiove (Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oil Industries); Famato (The Federation of Agriculture and Livestock of the State of Mato Grosso; Embrapa (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation); UFV (The Federal University of Viçosa); IAS (The Social Cotton Institute); Crea/MT (The Regional Council of Engineering, Architecture and Agronomy of the State of Mato Grosso), and other entities.

In 2011, a total of 1,500 soybean growers  from the state of Mato Grosso benefitted in some way from the SojaPlus program, either through the supply of teaching material, holding of workshops in the field, technical assistance or through a variety of courses that were provided. The program’s first module dealt with labor laws, health and occupational safety. A total of 19 Health and Safety in the Rural Workplace workshops were also held, which attracted some 800 participants, as well as a partnership with Senar-MT (National Service of Rural Learning), which organized 23 courses on Regulatory Norm 31 (NR-31) that deals with the quality of life in the workplace, and which attracted around 700 participants.  

In 2012, the program is being extended to the states of Bahia, Minas Gerais and Paraná. More information on the SojaPlus program can be found at EC2


While recognizing and encouraging best practices, Bunge understands that one must adopt strict criteria in order to guarantee compliance with sustainable practices. All of Bunge Brasil’s suppliers are evaluated in relation to compliance with practices regarding human rights and 100% of significant investment agreements have clauses relating the respect for human rights. Those growers who fail to comply with environmental legislation (and then,  included in public blacklists); those who disrespect voluntary pro-sustainability agreements (such as the Soy Moratorium and the Pact for Eradicating Modern Slave-like Labor) or contractual clauses that deal with environmental and labor legislation are subjected to sanctions, such as the suspension of purchase contracts and a ban on supplying fertilizers, and are automatically blacklisted by the Company:HR1 and HR2

Growers blacklisted in 2011   Total of Growers who remained blacklisted in 2011
Ibama: 203 growers   Ibama: 844 growers
Soy Moratorium: 15 growers   Soy Moratorium: 88 growers
Slave-like Labor: 4 growers   Slave Labor: 27 growers

The recovery of Brazilian biomes to ensure a balance between areas of agricultural production and natural environments is another focus of Bunge’s activities. During 2011, a number of projects were launched with the aim of protecting the Cerrado (Brazilian savanna), the Amazonian Biome and the Atlantic Rainforest.

1,500 farmers from Mato Grosso have been attended by Soja Plus Program

The Soy Moratorium: A Voluntary Initiative

One of the main voluntary tools utilized by Bunge has been the sectorial movement defined as the Soy Moratorium. Starting  in 2006, this moratorium has been renewed on an annual basis and applies to the purchase of soybean cropped  in regions that have been deforested in the Amazonian biome since July of 2006 on (i.e. encourages the non-purchase of such soybeans).  This is effectively a provisional measure, which goes beyond mere legislation, and which has sought to mitigate the effects of deforestation that would occur if soybean farming were allowed to expand further in this region, although permitted by law. In order to ensure that such grains are not purchased, areas that have been chosen as being centers of expansion are monitored via satellite, thanks to a partnership with INPE (Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research). Field trips are carried out, thereby creating a form of identifying each region, using a methodology that has been approved by the Soy Working Group, made up of the other companies participating in the initiative and important environmental NGOs, as well as government entities.

This Moratorium has proved that soybean farming is not a direct factor in inducing deforestation, since the area occupied by soybean in such cases corresponded, in the period up to 2011, to just 0.28% of all the land that had been deforested as from 2006. Brazil has a total surface area equivalent to more than 24 million hectares of which 1.94 million hectares are located in the Amazonian biome. The area of deforested land occupied by soybean plantations during the period of the Moratorium was equivalent to just 0.05% of the total area planted with soybean in the whole of Brazil, and to 0.6% of the total soybean planted area in the Amazonian biome. More information on this subject can be found at SO5

Since 2006, Bunge is part of the Soy Moratorium and does not buy the grain that was cropped on deforested sites inside the Amazon Biome.


Bunge products conform to applicable legislation in Brazil, and, in the case of exports, to ANEC standards. The Company participates in sustainable initiatives by endorsing the SojaPlus program, a sector development aimed at the improved training of Brazilian rural producers in the concept of sustainable production.EC2

The company also participates in the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS). For sugar and ethanol, there is already a world standard in place that is accepted and recognized by the markets, the Bonsucro.  Bunge already has two of its plants certified by this standard, which sets down criteria of sustainability in the running of sugarcane plantations, offering a greater reference on subjects such as the use of natural resources, conversion of vegetation and adaptation to environmental legislation, among others. We have here a participation in a select group of global producers who already have this certification, which in this case applies to the total of 51% of ethanol production and 49% of sugar production at the Moema Mill, and to the total of 53% of ethanol production and 47% of sugar production at the Frutal Mill.     

Modernization and Employability

Bunge presently has an installed capacity to produce 21 million tons of sugarcane, which should rise to 30 million tons by 2016, and 40 million by 2020. The plan is to have 100% of the land mechanized, to stop the use of burning previous to  harvesting and to extend the mechanization to planting and replanting. At the moment, the company is in the midst of turning its workforce from manual to mechanized harvesting. An end to manual harvesting will result in better working conditions and increased productivity among existing employees, with the capacity to work plantations double the size they are today. The prospect of ending the manual harvesting of sugarcane is already a reality and has already reached a level in excess of 90%.1.2, HR1 and HR2

Discussion in favor of Sustainable Growth 4.13 and SO5

Bunge is actively involved in the global debate on public policies that should encourage sustainable growth in Brazil’s agribusiness sector. For this reason, the company has in its structure a vice-chair (Institutional Relations, Communication and Sustainability) and an also an exclusive position (Institutional Relations).

It is also one of the 17 companies around the world that are members of the New Vision for Agriculture, an organization that brings together global leaders committed to global sustainability in food and agricultural development. Set up by the World Economic Forum in 2011, its purpose is to come up with a road map to increase global food security that protects the environment and promotes economic growth. The goals of the New Vision for Agriculture are clear: increase agricultural production by 20 percent; decrease greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production by 20 percent and reduce rural poverty by 20 percent every decade to meet the needs of a rapidly growing world. The organization represents the result of the work of 350 people from around the world.

The Company has also increased its direct support of cooperatives that collect recyclable materials, having kitted out and trained 60 of them in different parts of the country since 2006.

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Commitment to Brazil. Field to table.
Bunge Brasil's Sustainability Icons
Represent the Social, Environmental and Economic dimensions of the actions and projects of the company in the Country. Learn more about Bunge Brasil Sustainability Platform in
The Sustainability
Platform is a global
effort to ensure that
business performance
is enhanced on four
main fronts
Sustainable Agriculture Bunge is committed to raise awareness and train farmers to produce in order to reduce environmental impacts and maximize the use of finite natural resources.
The Sustainability
Platform is a global
effort to ensure that
business performance
is enhanced on four
main fronts
Climate Change Climate Change can bring significant impacts to food production worldwide. Therefore, Bunge believes it is a key factor in sustainability analyzes.
The Sustainability
Platform is a global
effort to ensure that
business performance
is enhanced on four
main fronts
Healthy Diets Offering safe and beneficial products to health. Bunge works to identify customer needs and provide the best food ever in the market.
The Sustainability
Platform is a global
effort to ensure that
business performance
is enhanced on four
main fronts
Waste Reduction Development of mechanisms and processes for the reduction of waste in industrial processes and expansion of the rational use of water and other non-renewable resources in the management of operational efficiency.