28 May 2024

Human Rights Due Diligence in Sugarcane Mills


Human Rights Due Diligence in Sugarcane Mills

Collaborating with multi-stakeholders to conduct meaningful Human Rights Due Diligence processes in Argentinian sugarcane mills 

The implementation of companies’ commitment to respect human rights has led us to support five sugar mills in Brazil and Argentina in the past three years. As a result, we developed a deeper dive engagement programme of one year with three mills to apply the Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) approach to identify the risks and adverse impacts in their own operations and supply chain and support them in determining actions to prevent, mitigate and remediate those risks. 

The pilot focused on the identification of risks and their root causes, and actions and actors to be involved to address the salient issues identified. What we learned from this process is that the engagement with a broad range of stakeholders is what made the HRDD process meaningful. Engagement from identification of risks to identification of solutions to address its drivers highlighted that collaboration between companies, producers, local governments, civil society organisations and rights-holders is key to implement the mindset shift that the HRDD process requires.  

Establishing and maintaining the relationships between the different actors can be challenging, but the outcomes of this engagement allowed concrete actions for the mills to be the result of a shared understanding of risks and solutions needed to address their root causes. Having a neutral space to allow discussions across multiple stakeholders to happen is key, as much as the local ownership of the process to ensure the continuation of the approach.