Bunge contributes to the well-being of local communities through employment and investments, through our work with local associations, and through employee volunteer activities. With industry associations and government agencies, we engage at both the local and the global level to discuss sustainability issues related to our sector and advocate for our views. Finally, we engage in constructive dialogue with a wide variety of stakeholders on the subject of advancing sustainability within our global operations and supply chain.
Bunge participates in and sponsors activities that support the communities in which we operate around the world. In 2015, these activities supported access to water; disaster and hunger relief; farm safety; children and families in need; environmental preservation; education and literacy; and arts and culture.Immersive Agricultural Education in the U.S.
Bunge North America will contribute $1 million over five years to the Saint Louis Science Center’s permanent exhibit on agriculture, called “GROW.” The indoor/outdoor exhibit will show the journey of our food supply from farm to table, featuring immersive and hands-on displays. Visitors will be able to see and touch farming tools, experience how precious water and rain are to farmers, and discover how farming is a driving force in today’s complex local and global economies. In addition to financial support from our company, Bunge employees will offer industry expertise to the Science Center team.Lighting Lives: Sustainable Power for Indigenous Communities
In December 2015, Bunge Paraguay and Fundación Paraguaya began the Lighting Lives project with an aim to install 100 solar panels within a 12-month period in Curuguaty and Concepción, two indigenous communities in Paraguay.
The project’s overall objective is to improve the living standards of the 100 families living in both places, measuring improvement by the Semáforo de Eliminación de la Pobreza (Poverty Elimination Traffic Light) methodology. Assessments were performed at the beginning of the project and will happen again after the 100 solar panels are installed, to measure the effect of access to sustainable electric power on the families’ living standards.
Bunge is a member of the following organizations, all of which are working toward a more sustainable agribusiness and food industry. Bunge’s board and council participation in these organizations is noted where applicable.
- ABIOVE (Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oils Industries) Council participation
- Bonsucro Board participation (2013–2016); chair in 2015–2016
- FEDIOL (Federation representing the European Vegetable Oil and Proteinmeal Industry in Europe) Board participation; presidency in 2016
- Field to Market*
- New Vision for Agriculture
- Sustainable Shipping Initiative
- The Forest Trust
- UNICA (Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association) Council participation
- World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
- *Founding member
“As WBCSD moves increasingly towards addressing global food security, we’re proud to welcome companies like Bunge — who aim to feed the world, while respecting the boundaries of our planet’s natural resources.” —Peter Bakker, president and CEO of the WBCSD.
In each of the countries where we operate, Bunge is subject to a variety of laws that govern various aspects of our business, including:
- The processing, handling, storage, transport and sale of our products
- Risk management activities
- Land use and ownership of land, including laws regulating the acquisition or leasing of rural properties by certain entities and individuals
- Environmental, health and safety matters
To operate our facilities, we must obtain and maintain numerous permits, licenses and approvals from governmental agencies, and our facilities are subject to periodic inspection by governmental agencies. In addition, we are subject to other laws and government policies affecting the food and agriculture industries, including:
- Food and feed safety
- Nutritional and labeling requirements
- Food security policies
Our relationships with government agencies and policy makers vary from country to country, and are usually related to production, marketing, regulations, compliance, sustainability and trade. Specifically in the European Union, sustainability began to be a strong strategic priority more than a decade ago. Bunge has an office in Brussels, where we interact with different departments of the European Commission, including those related to the environment, agriculture, product regulations, trade and energy. We also engage with members of the European Parliament.
In these relationships, we are asked for information about our business and we are able to explain how our industry works. Similar interactions take place out of Bunge’s Washington, D.C., office. For other regions, our dialogue with government agencies and policy makers is managed by our local headquarters in the countries in which we work. Regardless of region, we strive for consistency in our discourse across global and local interactions.
Bunge has become more active in industry associations, as an opportunity to address topics related to sustainability, to leverage our position within the industry, and to promote better communication with government agencies. We advocate for our point of view with associations and various governmental departments, sharing any concerns we may have about the effects of regulations on our business and society.
Bunge engages in dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders on the subject of advancing sustainability within our global operations and supply chain, including respecting human and labor rights. We are considered a company with whom these conversations can take place.
In 2015, we also conducted an online survey in which stakeholders from around the globe could comment on our materiality process.
Part of the process of determining our material issues is reaching out to our stakeholders, directly and indirectly, to find out what is most important to them with regard to Bunge and our operations.
Our entire value chain and its influencers were considered as potential participants in our 2015 materiality process. Stakeholder groups that most influence how our business operates and/or that most affect our performance were selected to contribute in a more significant way.
For the 2015 reporting period, our materiality process was informed by feedback from investors; banks and other financial institutions; customers; suppliers; industry associations; nongovernmental organizations; governmental agencies; and our direct employees.
Based on the feedback received from stakeholders throughout the year, through direct or indirect communications, we determined which topics were most material to our sustainability reporting. Engagement occurs throughout the calendar year, through e-mail, toll-free numbers, community meetings, social media, industry associations, roundtables and other direct interactions with all stakeholders who wish to engage with us.
In 2015, we also conducted an online survey in which stakeholders from around the globe could comment on our materiality process. The largest groups of respondents were employees, customers, suppliers, nongovernmental organizations and industry associations. Respondents were asked to rank economic, governance, social and environmental topics in order of their importance to the stakeholder’s relationship with Bunge.
Top topics in 2015
(By number and type of stakeholder group)
Another important way in which Bunge engages with stakeholders is through active participation in global public events in addition to local forums:
- The Aspen Institute’s Food Security Strategy Group (FSSG) annual meetings, 2013–2015
- Bonsucro Week 2015, São Paulo — “Inform, Improve, Inspire” — attended by producers, industry, trade and NGOs. Bunge Limited’s Michel Santos, then chair of Bonsucro, opened the conference by calling for an accelerated transformation of the sugarcane industry in the next few years.
- Soy Traders Meeting, Miami, Florida, 2016 — Bunge participated in the “Anticipated Challenges for Soy Expansion, Deforestation and Policy Developments for Latin America” discussion, organized by the World Wildlife Federation and Conservation International, together with the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
- Innovation Forum, Washington, D.C., 2016 — In the “How Business Can Tackle Deforestation” discussion, Bunge weighed in on transferable lessons from the Soy Moratorium for other commodities.
- IFC’s LAC Climate Business Forum 2016, Bogotá, Colombia — Bunge participated in the “Threats and Opportunities Posed by Climate Change to Agribusiness” panel discussion.
- World Bank Workshop, Bogotá, Colombia, 2016 — Bunge participated in the “Developing a Common Methodology for Landscape Conservation in Latin America” discussion with other invited companies and NGOs.
Bunge is actively responding to a grievance first received in November 2015 regarding suspected human rights and environmental abuses by an indirect supplier: Empresa Reforestadora de Palma de Peten SA (REPSA). Having met with an NGO coalition Washington, D.C., in April 2016 concerning the matter, we are currently monitoring the situation. For more details, please see our June 2016 Statement Concerning Grievance 2015–01 (REPSA).
Although not a grievance, during 2015 Bunge also responded to some demands for clarification from NGOs regarding the Jatayvary traditional population in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. The matter relates to third-party sugarcane suppliers whose farmland was the subject of indigenous land-demarcation discussions. All contracts relevant to the discussions preceded Bunge’s acquisition of the local sugarcane mill, Monteverde, and the farmland is still in the legal possession of the current growers. Contracts with the growers have expired, and today we do not source any commodities from the areas under discussion.