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Sustainability

We take "sustainability" very seriously — not only because we genuinely feel it's an important consideration, but also because our customers are looking for ways to be more green. We embark on multiple initiatives to help do our part as world citizens...

Environmental

  • Local Production
    • Our sugar is grown close to our factories — the average distance from field to refinery is 60 miles.
    • As a result of this close proximity, United Sugars uses less energy and emits less CO2 into the atmosphere versus importing sugar from distant continents.
  • Genetically Modified (GM) Sugar Beets
    • United Sugars has been a leader in the implementation of genetically modified sugar beets.
    • At 100% conversion, our growers will eliminate one to three herbicide applications and at least one cultivation each year (fields are cultivated to remove weeds).
      • Fewer passes through the fields will save more than 1 million gallons of fuel and reduce the usage of herbicide by 220 million pounds (the equivalent of a 9 mile-long train of railcars filled with the active ingredient).
      • Reduced hand labor for weed control will reduce field worker exposure to herbicides.
      • Reduced cultivation lessens the amount of CO2 being released from the soil (into the atmosphere) by 7 million pounds. Another result is more compacted soil causing less water and wind erosion of soil and reduced risk of herbicides leaching into groundwater and runoff into surface waters.
  • Pollution
    • Our cane member has made substantial investments in money, time and effort to stay in compliance with all government regulations and to go beyond the minimum requirements.
    • Investments have been made in water treatment during growing and harvest, eliminating odors and reducing air pollution. And a zero-discharge wastewater management programs are in place to reduce the amount of water used during sugar production.
    • Our sugar cane requires few chemicals and only small amounts of fertilizers for successful cultivation, and agricultural experts consider it one of the most environmentally friendly farm crops in the world.
    • Our cane member has become the leader in efforts to resolve years of litigation over restoration of the Florida Everglades.
    • Our cane member has supported the 1994 Everglades Forever Act, legislation that imposed on farmers the toughest water quality regulations of any farmers in America and have agreed to provide more than $300 million over 20 years to pay the entire cost of cleaning the water leaving their farms.
    • Our cane member has adopted a strict on-farm water quality control program utilizing Best Management Practices (BMPs) to ensure the long-range health of Florida's eco-system and have supported a plan to re-plumb the water flow and delivery system in South Florida, called the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).
    • Our cane member has supported the creation of 60 square miles of filtration marshes on farmland. The water leaving these marshes and entering the Everglades will be cleaner than rainwater.
    • Our cane member has supported 2003 state legislation, which ensures a continuation of funding and implementation of the 1994 Everglades Forever Act.
    • In addition, they use zero-discharge waste water management programs at its sugar mills and has established on-farm water conservation procedures. As a result of these efforts, thousands of wading birds and other native South Florida species make their homes on our land. Today, the American bald eagle and other rare migratory species find safe and hospitable habitats in our farming lands.

Working Conditions

  • United Sugars and its member companies have perhaps the best working conditions of any sugar processor in the world in terms of safety and pay.
    • The profit from our entire supply chain is reinvested with our local growers.
    • United Sugars (run by its member-growers) is proud to be an equal opportunity employer — with a sizable female representation.

Financial

  • Our members maintain the highest level of accounting audit practices.
    • Compliant with Sarbanes Oxley
    • Audited by The Big Four accounting firms.