In recent years, economic leaders have begun to recognize the significant risks posed by water scarcity and water quality declines. In response, governments are tightening water regulations in many growing regions, and investors and consumers alike are calling on global food and beverage companies to mitigate water risks in the food supply. Meanwhile, agricultural sustainability standards have experienced significant growth and have come to represent a key mechanism through which large multinational firms address their sustainability goals.
As one of the world’s thirstiest crops, sugarcane has a significant environmental impact—particularly when it comes to water use and quality—on many critical regions, from Southeast Asia’s Mekong River Delta to Central America’s Mesoamerican Reef. Yet it can be produced in environmentally, socially and economically sustainable ways.