Sustainable Organic Sugar
Taza Chocolate is proud to partner with The Native® Green Cane Project for our sugar sourcing.
Native set out over 25 years ago to pursue the belief that sugar cane plants are an ideal crop for an organic agricultural production system. After much time was spent in research and development the Green Cane Project was launched in 1987. Ten years later they achieved organic certification. They now have 15,000 hectares or over 37,000 acres of organically farmed fields, which is equivalent to almost 30,000 football fields.
It all started with a conviction to supply sugar in a sustainable manner. Sugar production has been reported to contribute to greater biodiversity loss than any other crop. Also, the traditional method of harvesting by burning cane fields releases carbon and dangerous greenhouse gases. Native developed the first mechanical cane harvester which means the cane is harvested green and not burned. The harvester also leaves green straw covering the ground creating mulch that protects the soil against erosion.
This new method of harvesting was implemented without displacing field workers. All workers were retrained for other positions within the operation. They were also offered profit sharing and advancement programs as well as housing, education and healthcare. The Green Cane Project reaches beyond standard organic practices such as eliminating synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms and prohibited pesticides. Native has worked to rebuild the soil by redirecting all waste streams to the fields, applying green manure and by rotating crops. They have increased the number and diversity of plants and animals on their farms by restoring habitats. Native also has its own entomological lab where they work with natural enemies that prevent pest damage to crops.
Since 1986 over a million native trees and shrubs have been planted on Native farms creating biodiversity islands, which help to prevent erosion and create habitats for native species. Over 330 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians have been identified on Native farms, 49 of which are endangered.
The mills that produce Native’s sugar are energy self-sufficient. Waste products from the process (sugar cane bagasse) are burned in highly efficient boilers to produce steam, which is then converted to electricity that is used to power the mill. They also sell excess energy to the power grid.
The Green Cane Project’s organic farming system has resulted in 20% higher productivity than conventional sugar cane production while reducing Native’s carbon footprint and saving water, soil, energy, and promoting human welfare. Native has gone beyond organic, creating a sustainable way of life for their farms and employees and the earth.
--Native's distribution partner, Global Organics Ltd.