IUCN assisted Shell with an early stage due diligence as part of collaborative work to ensure that sustainability issues are addressed in a Shell-Cosan joint venture (Raizen) in Brazil to produce biofuels from sugarcane.

The venture’s sustainability principles commit to robust assessments of potential direct impacts of any sugarcane expansion, and to ensuring biofuel feedstock is not procured from land recognized as having a high conservation value in or after January 2008.

IUCN is also focusing on reducing the negative environmental impacts of changes in land use and ensuring that the needs of indigenous communities, who may not have secure land rights over traditional territories, aren’t overlooked.

Assessing biodiversity implications of Raízen’s implementation of the Bonsucro standard in Brazil

IUCN, Shell and Raízen completed a pilot study in April 2013 to assess biodiversity-related implementation and initial impacts of the Bonsucro standard for sugarcane-based ethanol production in Brazil. IUCN assessed management changes that have resulted from certification to date, and identified opportunities for better managing biodiversity impacts more broadly.

For the study, IUCN convened an independent expert group, drawing on experts from its Species Survival Commission and Commission for Ecosystem Management as well as from its NGO Members, with expertise on local wildlife, conservation planning, sustainability standards, and biodiversity indicators.

The group reviewed a broad range of information to identify practices, management changes, issues, and opportunities relevant to the standard’s biodiversity aspects and the company’s operations. The review also included a field mission to Raízen’s first Bonsucro certified mill and related sugarcane supply areas in the State of São Paulo in February 2013.

For the full report of the IUCN-convened expert group, please click here.