Green farmer: Sugarcane farmer Robert Quirk returned from a Bonsucro world sugar meeting in America.
Green farmer: Sugarcane farmer Robert Quirk returned from a Bonsucro world sugar meeting in America.

Green sugar goes global

STOTTS Creek farmer Robert Quirk is helping lead the world to a sweeter, more sustainable future.

The Tweed Canegrowers Association chairman returned this week from Washington DC where he attended a board meeting of Bonsucro, formerly the Better Sugarcane Initiative.

“We discussed our standards that we’ve developed for world sugarcane producers,” Mr Quirk said.

“We oversee the development of the practices that are going to be the standard for those who are members, including buyers, traders and producers.”

Practises include encouraging the use of sustainable energy and restricting sugarcane crops on high conservation grassland.

Mr Quirk was the not-for-profit organisation’s first chairman in 2005 and together with the DPI and Landcare he has spent the past 17 years encouraging sustainable farming.

“We were doing our chain of custody, so we can ensure if you buy sugar it’s been through the correct process,” Mr Quirk said.

“People will be having their sugar mills audited soon to ensure they’re run in an efficient manner.

“It’s all to do with greenhouse gas emissions and reducing them, effective farming practices and water use efficiency.

“And ensuring people abide by the law and the International Labour Organisation standards.”

Mr Quirk said the practices would bring other countries in line with Australian standards.

“Bonsucro’s annual general meeting will be held in Brisbane in November.”

In 2009 Mr Quirk was named the 26th most influential Australian who is committed to the environment.

Bonsucro aims to improve the social, environmental, and economic sustainability of sugar cane



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