World’s First Sustainable Sugar Supply Chain Collaboration Leads Way For Sustainable Future In Global Trade

August 5, 2020

Adeoti Ogunsola

Amidst current concerns over the future of food security and supply chain resilience, the world’s first sustainable trade partnership, led by Czarnikow, was completed today (Wednesday 5th August, 2020 BST).  By bringing together all supply chain participants which put sustainability at the core of its business –  the trade and shipment of 50,000 metric tonnes of sustainably sourced sugar, valued at almost US$ 16,000,000, provides hope for a more sustainable future for global supply chains.  

Participants in the VIVE Programme, which is run by Czarnikow and Intellync , collaborated to facilitate this trade. The sugar was sourced by Czarnikow from Santa Terezinha in Brazil, transported by The China Navigation Company Pte Ltd, financed by OCBC Bank with a sustainability-linked trade facility, refined by Central Sugars Refinery Sdn Bhd refinery in Malaysia and purchased by a large multi-national for conversion into end products. 

Robin Cave, Chief Executive Officer at Czarnikow Group Limited says, “This completely sustainable trade represents the actualisation of a vision we had long ago, making it a key milestone in Czarnikow’s dedication to a more sustainable future. Since The VIVE Programme launched in 2015, we have been privileged to work with partners who share our big ambitions in this area and we would like to thank them for their support and collaboration. This is only the beginning and we look forward to further innovation in years to come”. 

The VIVE Programme enables an organisation to work with a range of supply chain participants to enhance their sustainable practice and reap environmental, social and commercial rewards. Czarnikow are also a participant themselves, assessed under the VIVE Chain of Custody Module, and by managing the trade they can ensure that full transparency and traceability can be achieved.  

This trade partnership shows what happens when all partners work together to commit to sustainability. VIVE shows that it is possible to make a fully sustainable trade, impacting the industry more widely by making sustainability a priority for all stages of the supply chain, and all sizes of business. 

Simon Phelps, Commercial Director at Intellync says; “This accomplishment demonstrates the commitment of all parties involved to deliver sustainable supply chains. Intellync are proud to be a partner of the VIVE programme and this key achievement.” 

Ng Chuey Peng, Managing Director and Head of Global Commodities Finance, OCBC Bank 

Says; “This deal shows that like-minded partners in the supply chain are committed to doing the right thing, notwithstanding the distraction brought upon by the pandemic.  Moreover, we are used to seeing two parties in a ‘responsible’ transaction; to have a multi-party involvement in the entire supply chain is a first and we are excited to be part of this chain, especially partnering with Czarnikow in its maiden sustainability-linked trade financing facility. This innovative financing structure is designed to recognise value by providing incentives to the key stakeholders involved in sugar trading who are making meaningful changes by working together through the VIVE programme.” 

When Central Sugars Refinery joined the VIVE Programme several years ago, CSR knew that they would have to commit to making improvements in their business to achieve both the VIVE Claim Level and the sustainability goals that they had set themselves. 

Speaking about working with Czarnikow and the VIVE Programme, Ahmad Farid, Commercial Director of Central Sugars Refinery Sdn Bhd says; “To bring everyone together to achieve the VIVE standard across the full supply chain has, understandably, taken time but it is also an inspiration, a shared ambition, hard work and excellent collaboration. It takes considerably more than just meeting a standard to make a sustainable supply chain work, it has to be commercially viable, and this has been made possible by working closely with Czarnikow and the VIVE team. They have worked tirelessly to curate this project and bring the participants together.” 

Increased consumer demand for sustainable product is driving producers to create it, leading to an environmental, social and commercial advantage in the commodities sector. Ben French, Senior Trader at Czarnikow responsible for the expansion of The VIVE Programme in Asia says; “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced our principle that sustainable production and supply chains are critical for food security, business resilience, transparency and social and environmental responsibility. It is therefore imperative that sustainable development is built into the foundations of businesses as we gradually emerge from the pandemic.”  

In some sectors, products which are marked sustainable have seen a 150% increase in sales in recent years. Smaller players are encouraged by large MNCs, who are also part of the VIVE network, in a ‘pull through’ effect that opens market opportunities to those for whom sustainability is a new priority. The VIVE Programme is set to be the industry model on what happens when all partners work together to commit to fully to sustainable trade. 

For more information about the VIVE Programme visit

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