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21 April 2016

British Sugar’s commitment to Red Tractor Assurance sees its sustainability credentials globally recognised

British Sugar’s commitment to Red Tractor Assurance sees its sustainability credentials globally recognised

Red Tractor's sugar beet and cereals assurance standards combined with UK legislative requirements have achieved Silver level equivalence with SAI Platform's Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) 2.0.

For the last eight years, all the sugar beet supplied to British Sugar has been Red Tractor farm assured.  By working together as an industry the two organisations are driving sustainable agriculture that promotes environmental protection, embraces creating a quality product and drives safety in the efficient production of sugar beet.

Laurence Matthews, Red Tractor's Combinable Crops and Sugar Beet Board Chairman, said: "The world's biggest food and drink brands are scrutinising their supply chains more than ever before. It's becoming imperative that companies such as British Sugar, who supply these brands, can demonstrate sustainable sourcing policies. 

"Not only does this achievement mean that British Sugar continues to be a great supporter of sugar beet grown in the UK, it also demonstrates that Red Tractor's growers produce a quality product to standards that major brands recognise as sustainable". 

Simon Leeds, Grower Engagement Manager for British Sugar said: "This is great news for the UK sugar beet industry and recognises the outstanding work being achieved by our growers. 

"At British Sugar we are proud of our sustainability track record – and will continue to drive our work to build efficient, productive and responsible value chains working with all our partners'.  

Press contacts:

Claire Hargreaves, British Sugar Communications Manager,
01733 422945

Ben Pike, Red Tractor PR Consultant,

Notes to editors:

British Sugar is the leading supplier to the British and Irish food and beverage markets.  We operate four factories across East Anglia and the East Midlands employing around 900 permanent staff directly at our facilities and support up to 13,000 UK jobs in the wider economy.

Around 3,400 growers supply our factories with 7.5 million tonnes of sugar beet each year, which we process into over 1 million tonnes of sugar. 

We are committed to supporting our sugar beet growers and there is an established R&D and knowledge transfer programme via the British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO) and free grower support via British Sugar’s field force. The effectiveness of this approach can be seen with beet yields increasing by over 60% since 1980.  This work is continuing and sugar beet is one of the fastest yield increasing broad-acre crops. 

The UK sugar beet industry has focussed efforts towards minimising the use of inputs which has resulted in 90% reduced insecticides, 50% reduced active ingredients (pesticides) and 40% reduced nitrogen fertilisers. 95% of the UK crop is rain-fed with minimal effect on irrigation water supplies and application energy. 

Sugar production is at the heart of our operations but using our highly integrated approach to manufacturing, we aim to transform all of our raw materials into sustainable products. We produce 500,000 tonnes of animal feed from sugar beet pulp. We recycle stones for building, lime for soil conditioning and soil for landscaping. Using our Combined Heat & Power plants, we export enough electricity for 165,000 homes and use the combustion gases to grow around 140 million tomatoes annually in the UKs largest single tomato glasshouse. We were also the first company to manufacture Bioethanol in the UK in 2007 and can now produce up to 55,000 tonnes on an annual basis.

Over the past 10 years, we have invested over £300 million to improve efficiency and competitiveness. 

We employ technicians, apprentices, graduates and experienced professionals for roles across the business and throughout the supply chain including engineers, accountants and project managers. Over past 10 years, we have recruited and trained over 100 graduates and 90 apprentices

British Sugar is part of AB Sugar, which is wholly owned by international food, ingredients and retail group, Associated British Foods plc.

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Red Tractor was established in 2000 and has grown to become the UK’s biggest farm and food standards scheme, covering all of animal welfare, food safety, traceability and environmental protection. The way that our food is farmed and prepared is regularly checked by independent experts to make sure it is of a good standard.



By using the FSA tool, SAI Platform aims to increase the consistency of communication within the food and beverage supply chains about sustainability expectations. At the same time, FSA significantly reduces the time and expense involved in the inevitable duplication at farm and supply base levels from carrying out multiple assessments and assurances. It also promotes continuous improvement in the sustainable production of agricultural resources.

FSA 2.0 consists of three levels of questions; essential, basic and advanced. FSA 2.0 scoring is reflected in performance levels; bronze, silver and gold:

  • Bronze refers to a minimum 100% coverage of essentials and 75% of basic
  • Silver refers to a minimum 100% coverage of essentials and 80% of basic and 50% of advanced
  • Gold refers to a minimum 100% coverage of essentials, 100% of basic and 75% of advanced.


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