The carbon footprint of Guatemalan Sugar is one of the lowest internationally

The carbon footprint of Guatemalan Sugar is one of the lowest internationally

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry, committed to the sustainable management of the environment and the mitigation of climate change, has made efforts in its production processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; as a result, the carbon footprint of Guatemalan Sugar is one of the lowest internationally.

The carbon footprint of Guatemalan Sugar for the 2019-2020 harvest was estimated at 0.33kg of CO2eq for each kilogram of sugar produced, which is among the lowest in relation to others worldwide, according to the Emissions Inventory Study of Greenhouse Gases and Carbon Footprint of Guatemalan Sugar by the Private Institute for Climate Change Research -ICC-.

ICC experts carried out an inventory of emissions generated by the burning of sugarcane biomass in the field, use of nitrogen fertilizers and other fertilizers and agricultural inputs, change of use and land cover, use of fuels for agricultural and transport activities, generation of electricity for internal consumption, consumption of electrical energy from the national interconnected system, inputs for industrial processes and industrial wastewater.

The result of this balance, between what we emit, fix, and avoid is the carbon footprint. Guatemalan Sugar has a footprint of “0.33kg CO2eq / kg sugar” (0.33 kilograms of CO2 equivalent per kilogram of sugar), it is a very small footprint compared to other foods and to other sugar-producing countries in the world.

For example, our carbon footprint is lower than that of producers in the United States, the European Union, Thailand, and the United Kingdom, among others. This means that the Guatemalan Sugar production process is more environmentally friendly.

Guatemalan Sugar gallery forests

It is important to mention that there are activities that generate emissions, but there are also activities that reduce or avoid them; for example, when cane grows, it absorbs or stores CO2 from the environment, which it needs to grow. The Guatemalan Sugar Industry also has natural forests that store 1,415,638 tons of CO2 equivalent.

Likewise, the generation of energy with the bagasse or biomass of the cane prevents up to 4 million tons of CO2 from reaching the environment per year, since it uses a renewable resource and not fossil fuels such as mineral coal. In the Zafra season, the Sugar Industry supplies around 30% of the energy that the country uses, this renewable energy.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry ends the 2020/2021 Zafra, driven by a Guatemalan sugarcane variety

End of zafra 2020-2021 in Guatemala

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry ended the suar cane harvest and sugar production season driven by the CG02-163 sugarcane variety developed by scientists from the Guatemalan Center for Research and Training in Sugar Cane -Cengicaña-; this is a high-yield cane, resistant to diseases and adapted to climate variability.

The CG02-163 sugarcane variety leads the Guatemalan Sugar IndustryThe CG02-163 sugarcane variety, currently occupying the largest planted area in the country, has a yield ranging from 11.5 to 12.5 tons of sugar per cultivated hectare. This variety produces an average of 1.4 tons more per hectare than the second-place variety CP72-2086, which comes from Canal Point in Florida, United States.

This contributed to the production for the 2020/2021 harvest being 55,758,979 quintals of sugar or 2,564,901 metric tons of sugar, with a cultivated area of 253 thousand hectares. This harvest was challenging due to the conditions presented by the pandemic and all the biosanitary measures were taken for the prevention of COVID-19, both in the workplace and in the communities of the South of Guatemala.

“Research and development is a fundamental pillar for the Sugar Industry, it has contributed to improve efficiency each harvest and has allowed us to be more competitive worldwide. The development of cane varieties is one of the great contributions of the research center, until this year we have developed, through the natural crossing of plants, 33 Guatemalan cane varieties that are more productive, resistant to pests and climate change”, commented Luis Miguel Paiz, general manager of the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association -Asazgua-.

Renewable energy cogeneration

As part of the research, sugarcane residues are also used to produce alcohol and the generation of renewable energy and during the 2020/2021 harvest, cogeneration mills contributed with 30% of the energy consumed in the country, reaching peaks in some days that reached 46%.

Renewable energy produce with sugarcane biomassIn that period, the Sugar Industry generated 1,844 (GWh) gigawatt-hours of renewable energy to deliver to the grid; the equivalent of 2 times the consumption of all the Municipal Electric Companies of Guatemala for 1 year.

Zafra is development for Guatemala

The zafra begins in November and ends in May of the following year and, for the South of Guatemala, it is a season of economic reactivation since it generates more than 54 thousand direct jobs and the hiring of more than 6,325 suppliers, large, medium and small of products and services, who also become employers and multiply opportunities for the local population. The sugar sector generates more than 270 thousand indirect jobs each year.

Production of Guatemalan SugarThe sugar mills associated with Asazgua operate under a strict labor and environmental policy and distribute each year around US$402 million in wages and salaries, in addition to providing complementary health services to their collaborators. In a study prepared by Asazgua, the economic footprint or spill of sugar in Guatemala is more than US$ 1,188 million and reaches 90% of the country’s municipalities.

Guatemala has one of the most efficient sugar shipping terminals in the world

Expogranel, Guatemalan Sugar shipping terminal

Expogranel, located in Puerto Quetzal, is the specialized terminal for handling and shipping bulk sugar in Guatemala, which has positioned as one of the most efficient terminals in the world.

With a system of conveyor belts, shipping cranes and hydraulic bridges, the terminal can receive up to 800 metric tons of sugar per hour and fill a bulk ship at a rate of 2,000 metric tons of bulk sugar per hour on average.

Almacen de azucar en ExpogranelThe hydraulic bridges, sugar launchers, automatic samplers, conveyor belt system, shipping cranes, among others, were designed and manufactured in Guatemala with the support of the Sugar Industry.

Similarly, the bag terminal has an efficient operation that allows it to operate 10 trucks per hour to fill containers with bags of sugar. This design, specialized equipment and professional staff have made Expogranel a fundamental piece for the growth and competitiveness of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry.

The terminal has a capacity to store 58,000 metric tons of sugar in bags.

Before Expogranel existed, a ship of 35 thousand metric tons was loaded in 30 days and today it is done in an average of 18 hours. And it has a sugar shipping capacity of more than 3,500 tons in bags per day.

In addition, the Expogranel laboratory stands out for the reliability and impartiality of its results accredited with the international standard ISO 17025 and the specialization it possesses.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry promotes sports and a healthy lifestyle

Sugar Industry sponsors a football team

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry promotes sports and a healthy lifestyle and this Tuesday proudly announced that now sponsors the FC Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa team of the National Soccer League.

“The Guatemalan Sugar Industry is very committed to issues of health, education, community development, and today we are getting involved in another important activity such as sport,” said Alvaro Ruiz, vice president of the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association -Asazgua-.

Also, Rodolfo Puertas, president of FC Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa, current champion of the National League, said “for us it is a privilege to have this association (as a sponsor) and to be able to count on the support of the sugar sector.”

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry considers physical activity as a fundamental element for a healthy lifestyle, and supports events such as the Sugar Race, a 10.5 kilometers route that marks the beginning of the Zafra and has been carried out every year since 1987.

Another important component for a healthy life is food security, the Sugar Industry through the Sugar Foundation -Fundazucar- has implemented the Better Families program that promotes food and nutritional security, as well as the empowerment of women as agents of change and catalyst for development.

The program has been so successful that four municipalities of the South of the country signed a cooperation agreement with Fundazucar for the transfer of the methodology that allows educating mothers in preventive health with sustainable actions to improve the conditions of their children, family and community.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry contributes to the aquatic biodiversity

Ingenios azucareros siembran peces para contribuir con la diversidad

The conservation of biodiversity is one of the commitments of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry, therefore it is one of the main axes of its the Environmental Policy. Within this framework, the sugar sector has implemented the fish stocking program in the rivers of the South of Guatemala.

The stocking of fish aims to increase the population of native species in rivers. The Guatemalan Sugar Industry, with the support of the Private Institute for Climate Change Research -ICC-, breed 3 species of native mojarras: Prieta, Tusa and Balcera; in addition to the freshwater snail, which reproduce in ponds and are released into rivers with the support of the community.

Los ingenios azucareros siembran peces para contribuir a la diversidadSinces 2015 the Sugar Industry in conjunction with the ICC have released around 160,000 fingerlings and 18,000 freshwater snail into three rivers of the South of Guatemala. The ICC conducts studies to analyze the fish population in various rivers of the South of Guatemala, with the aim of determining how the aquatic fauna is doing and prioritizing fish releases where necessary, always using native species.

The Environmental Policy of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry, which began to be implemented in the 2015/16 zafra, regulates eight aspects: sugarcane burning, use and management of fertilizers, use of water, use of vinaza, use of water in the factory, solid waste management, particulates in chimneys and air quality; as well as protection of biodiversity. Every year improvements are made to achieve this objective of caring for the environment in its operation.

Business Network for the Prevention of Child Labour in Guatemala receives an international award for its leadership

no child labour award

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry congratulates the Chamber of Agro -Camagro- and the Business Network for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor, for obtaining first place in the international award “Leader of Change for the Eradication of Child Labour”, which is granted by the International Organization of Employers -OIE-.

With the initiative “Boys and Girls to School”, the Guatemalan business network stood out in the contest due to the diversity of innovative activities, promoted through different sectors, with positive impacts on the elimination and prevention of child labour. The network is made up of 18 business organizations, 4 NGOs, 2 government institutions and 2 international organizations.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry actively participates, both in Camagro and in the Business Network. Since 1999 has permanently contributed to the prevention and eradication of child labor, through a union policy that establishes the working conditions to generate decent employment and the No child labor in the activities of the sugar sector.

Likewise, it contributes to this objective through the social programs carried out by Fundazucar, which are focused on strengthening public institutions and promoting responsible citizen participation to influence the improvement of the quality-of-life indicators of the population in the 56 municipalities of the South of Guatemala where it operates, promoting equal opportunities for the education of boys and girls.

Prevention and eradication of work child

The joint efforts made by the Sugar Industry, in coordination with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association and community coordination through Fundazucar, have allowed great advances in the prevention and eradication of child labour because each of the parties has assumed the role that corresponds to open up opportunities for sustainable solutions within the framework of public policy.

no child labour award“The Guatemalan Sugar Industry reiterates its commitment to the generation of formal, dignified and decent employment, and the No child labor,” said Alfredo Vila, President of the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association -Asazgua-.

This award recognizes the efforts that each of the sectors represented in Camagro and in the Business Network have made over the years to avoid hiring child labor and to bet on a better future for Guatemalan children through education.

The jury that chose the winners was made up of the International Organization of Employers -OIE-, the Kalash Foundation and the International Labor Organization -OIT-. The announcement of the global winners was made on June 16th, 2021, from Geneva, Switzerland.

Main destinations of Guatemalan Sugar

Main destinations of Guatemalan Sugar

Guatemalan Sugar was exported to 59 countries and regions on 5 continents in 2020; and it ranks as the sixth export product of the country according to data from the Guatemalan Central Bank (Banguat).

Guatemala exports 70% of its total sugar production, the remaining 30% is fortified with vitamin A and remains in the country to supply local consumption.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry produces natural sugar that comes from sugarcane plants grown on farms and has minimal processing.

In the top 3 destinations of Guatemalan sugar are countries of the American continent: Canada 256.4 million kilograms (256,351 MT), the United States 189 million kilograms (188,966 MT) and Chile 184.2 million kilograms.

The top 10 destinations of Guatemalan sugar

Main countries of each continent

The sugar produced in Guatemala was exported to all continents in 2020 according to Banguat.

sugar produced in Guatemala was exported to all continents

More than 50% of the sugar that leaves Guatemala is exported to countries on the American continent, in addition to Canada, the United States and Chile, Haiti 83.8 million kilograms (83,754 MT) and Peru 53.3 million kilograms (53,263 MT) complete the top 5.

In the case of the Asian continent, Taiwan is placed in the first position with 130 million kilograms of sugar (130,202 MT), South Korea in second place with 62.6 million kilograms (62,619 MT) and Malaysia in third place imported 46.8 million kilograms (46,830 MT).

Ivory Coast is the main country to which sugar is exported from Guatemala on the African continent with 70.1 million kilograms (70,068 MT), followed by Mauritania with 45 million kilograms (44,994 MT) and very close is Ghana 44.9 million kilograms (44,899 MT).

In Europe, Spain is the country that leads the import of Guatemalan sugar with 37 million kilograms (36,983 MT) followed by Portugal 19 million kilograms (18,882 MT) and Italy 15.3 million kilograms (15,309 MT).

And in Oceania, most of the sugar from Guatemala reaches New Zealand 60.5 million kilograms (60,500 MT) and only about 675 kilograms (0.68 TM) reaches Australia.

131 youngsters graduate with Guatemalan Sugar Industry’s scholarships

131 young people from 10 technical careers graduated

As part of the “Study Opportunities” scholarship program, promoted by the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association –Asazgua-, 131 young people from 10 technical careers graduated on Thursday, October 15th.

Since the beginning of the program to date, Asazgua has awarded more than 1800 scholarships for the benefit of the youth of the South of Guatemala.

These scholarships to study at the Technical Training and Productivity Institute -Intecap- are awarded to young people between 15 and 25 years old who have completed 3rd grade, their objective is to give them the opportunity to pursue a technical career that allows them to be more qualified for the labor market or start their own business.

Of the graduates, 117 are men and 17 women, who obtained the careers of: home and commercial electrician, car straightener and painter, cook, international cook, home electrician. As well as technicians in: industrial welding, automotive mechanics, industrial electricity, and in refrigeration and air conditioning, at the Intecap headquarters in 4 departments of the South of the country.

131 young people from 10 technical careers graduated

We recognize in a special way the effort made by these 131 young people to complete their studies despite the difficulties generated by the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, and now they are experts who will be able to contribute to the development of the South of Guatemala,” commented Alfredo Vila, President of Asazgua.

Intecap has carried out two market studies to detect labor needs in the region, with the aim of promoting the training and specialization of young people in the professions with the greatest demand. These increases the employment opportunities of these young people when they graduate from their careers. On average 65% of young graduates obtain formal employment.