the challenge
in detail


make an impact with your ideas to reduce water losses


the detail behind our challenge

AB Sugar has a strong history of doing the right thing and is committed to cutting both water use and carbon emissions in its supply chain. Every year we look to abstract less water so that every bag of sugar we make uses less of the world’s resources, such as water.

We have come a long way in making improvements, but we want to go further. That is why, as part of our 2030 commitments, we have pledged to cut our end-to-end supply chain water use and carbon emissions by 30%, but we can’t do this alone. Our aim is that by creating The Innovate Irrigation Challenge, we have an exciting opportunity to draw on ideas from all over the world to help reduce water loss in sugar and beyond.

The question we posed with this Challenge was:

"How do you stop irrigation water losses (evaporation/leaks etc) in agriculture?"

We are delighted with the level of interest in the Challenge; receiving over 90 registrations and a further 28 submissions from individuals across the world. 

To find out more about the winning idea, please click here

where, what, why?

2030 commitments summary


where are we now?

Across our businesses we are using a mix of irrigation technologies including furrow, drip, sprinkler, linear and pivot. How could we use them better? Are these the best technologies to irrigate crops? How can we adopt technologies within challenging environments and climates? Our sugar plants are often located in remote rural areas and face different climate change issues such as droughts or floods.


what we need to achieve

Growing sugar is water intensive and we are taking steps to conserve it. Improving water efficiency per tonne of sugar and driving stewardship by using less drop per crop is integral to a sustainable sugar business. Can you help us use less drop per crop? 

are we missing an opportunity​?

We continually invest in new technologies but is there an opportunity to think differently in solving this challenge? How do we incentivise behaviours in our supply chain? Where is there great practice across the world that we could learn from or replicate to improve the pace of change?

This is an exciting opportunity for everyone to share their innovative ideas about how water loss in agriculture can be tackled – whether you are an academic, policy expert, conservationist, farmer or passionate about the environment – we want to hear from you.


our 2030 global sustainability commitments

To help us achieve our vision of being the world’s leading sustainable sugar business, in April 2018 we integrated our Group-wide commitments into our ‘Global Mind, Local Champions’ framework. These industry leading goals are designed to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their objectives for 2030. To find out more about why we recognise the need to take further action to reduce our environmental footprint, take a look at our 2030 commitments

Reduce our
end-to-end supply chain water and C02 footprints by 30% by 2030



Challenge opens


Register your interest

19/06/19 (00:01 UK Time)

48 hours countdown to submit your ideas

20/06/19 (23:59 UK Time)

Idea submission closes

Early September

Winner announced

AB Sugar China Azucarera British Sugar Germains Seed Technology Illovo Sugar Group Vivergo Fuelds