Cargill gains major silver benchmarking recognition for its stevia production

Cargill has confirmed a major step for its stevia-based ingredients portfolio, claiming a first for the sector after its programme has been benchmarked at Silver Level by SAI Platform’s Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) 3.0, reports Neill Barston.

The company explained that its latest rating will enable its customers to experience an enhanced level of reassurance in its operations, with the business active in a number of segments including devising solutions for confectionery and snacks.

As the business noted, the FSA benchmarking system is designed to help producers assess their sustainability practices and support manufacturers in sourcing sustainably grown products, in response to global demand for environmentally mindful manufacturing and agricultural practices.

Consequently, the company said it had sought to deliver sustainable sourcing across all its ingredients chains,  including citrus peels, grains, oilseeds, as now for its entire stevia growing network, which has taken on an increasing prominence in its overall offering.

Notably, in order to achieve the Silver Level benchmark, Cargill’s comprehensive Stevia Sustainability Agricultural Standard was independently audited to assess practices across eleven sustainability topics, including labor conditions, water management, air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. The FSA Silver benchmark applies to Cargill’s lines of Truvia and ViaTech stevia leaf extracts.

“Earning a Silver Level Equivalency is regarded by many brands as a key measure for sustainable sourcing,” said James Ede, sustainability lead for Cargill’s sweeteners and starches business. “It’s a comprehensive process that ensures Cargill’s world class sustainability program and grower network benchmark to the rigorous SAI Platform FSA standard around sustainable production and ethical sourcing across our stevia supply chain.”

Furthermore, as the business asserted, when it first entered the stevia market, there were no such industry standards in existence, which prompted the company to devise its own quality system for its activities. A decade on and its Stevia Sustainability Agricultural Standard, has offered its customers quality assurance that the company’s leaf-based stevia products meet the highest standards for quality and sustainability practices.

This has been based on four core pillars including Agronomy – managing land use through sustainable practices, environment – Enforcing chemical handling protocols, social – protecting human rights, including no use of forced labor, and economic – Preserving farmer livelihoods.

As the company explained, compliance is confirmed annually by third-party audits, which affirm that Cargill’s stringent standards are being followed. Now, with the FSA Silver Level benchmark, food and beverage manufacturers are assured that Cargill’s stevia sustainability program has been evaluated by one of the industry’s most recognised sustainability assessment initiatives.

“With this distinction, our entire stevia portfolio has now been validated and verified by independent third-parties as one of the most sustainable stevia programs in the world,” said Stuart Schulz, business process manager and manager of Cargill’s stevia leaf sustainability program.

“Last year, we completed an independent third-party life cycle analysis on EverSweet*, our stevia sweetener made via fermentation. Now the stevia agricultural standard we’ve had in place since 2013 has been validated by FSA. Taken together, these steps give our customers a level of confidence no other stevia supplier can offer.”


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