From raw material to product:
The AGRANA value chain in the

Raw material procurement
in the Sugar segment

Sustainability is an integral element of AGRANA's corporate philosophy. For us, this commitment begins long before the industrial processing of agricultural raw materials, namely during their procurement. With the Sugar segment, we are active in Central and South-eastern European markets. We process sugar beet and raw sugar into a range of different sugar products, which are sold to downstream industries and to food retailers under the name "Wiener Zucker" and other country-specific brand names.

In the 2019|20 financial year, we processed 4.6 million tonnes of sugar beet procured from contract growers based in the EU. Contractual farming enables close cooperation with our suppliers, ensuring and documenting the use of good agricultural practices as well as fair working conditions, which we ascribe to in our general principles for the procurement of agricultural raw materials and intermediate products.

In 2019|20, we merged our “Mont Blanc” efficiency improvement programme into AGRANA4You, a new agricultural marketing programme managed jointly with the Starch segment. It contributes to sustainability with a wide range of seminars and other activities to make more efficient use of resources to the benefit of farmers, the environment and society.

In the 2017|18 financial year the previously voluntary completion of the Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) questionnaire became mandatory for some contract suppliers. As called for by the SAI FSA Implementation Framework published in June 2016, selected farmers in all five beet-growing countries (Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia) participated in the mandatory FSA self-assessment and the external audits to SAI standards. Based on the results of the external verification, AGRANA’s Sugar segment is entitled to Claim FSA gold or silver status under SAI standards for more than 75% of the statistical population of all sugar beet growers. AGRANA’s minimum requirements are fulfilled by all contract beet growers; in 2018|19 areas of potential for improvement identified by the audits were addressed through existing training programmes. The FSA reverification audits in accordance with the SAI requirements are scheduled for the 2020|21 financial year.

Membership in the SAI:

We produce sugar by refining raw sugar from sugar cane at a number of our production sites in the Sugar segment. We procure this raw sugar from traders from least developed countries (LDC), or from Brazil.

in the Sugar segment

Even though the transportation of raw materials and sugar products has a comparatively low impact of between 5% and 10% on the carbon footprint of sugar depending on the calculation method and country, we still try to keep transportation as sustainable as possible both in terms of the infrastructure and commercial viability.

In the 2018|19 processing season, an average of around 32 % of the beet was delivered to the sugar factories by rail. This was highest in Hungary and Austria at around 50 %, respectively.

Our sugar production

As a result of our high level of dependence on agricultural crops, we are passionately committed to the careful use and conservation of natural resources. We have taken this self-imposed obligation and created the AGRANA environmental policy, which covers major aspects such as energy use and emissions, water and waste management.

As an energy-intensive processor of agricultural raw materials, we strive to optimise our energy consumption and our energy efficiency on an ongoing basis. In order to achieve these objectives, we are integrating an energy management system, based on standards such as ISO 50001, into our existing quality management system. In the 2019|20 financial year the energy management systems of 100 % of the Sugar segment’s production sites within the GRI reporting boundaries held a current ISO 50001 certification.

ISO 50001 certified:

In our energy policy, we place particular emphasis on:

  • Natural gasIn the 2019|20 financial year, we met approximately 60 % of our total energy needs with natural gas, 22 % with coal and coke, 8 % with steam, 7 % with biogas, biomass, electricity from renewable sources, and the rest with other energy sources.

  • New technologiesWith the installation of low-temperature dryers in sugar factories in Austria in 2011|12, which capture waste heat from earlier process steps and harness it for the drying of desugared beet pulp to produce animal feed, we have since saved emissions of about 240,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

  • Increasing the share of energy provided on site with biogasThe Kaposvar sugar plant in Hungary generated about 23 million cubic metres of biogas from beet pulp in the 2019|20 financial year. This would have been sufficient to cover approximately 73 % of the site’s primary energy requirement for the 2019|20 beet campaign. About 9.7 million cubic metres of the biogas produced at the facility (containing about 54 % methane) were refined by the biogas upgrading plant installed in autumn 2015 into biomethane (100 % methane) for feeding into the local natural gas grid. The biomethane injected into the grid was equivalent to the annual heating requirement of about 2,054 single-family homes.

  • Decarbonisation by 2040AGRANA is committed to the goal of CO2-neutral production by 2040. This challenging target can only be achieved by a politically and societally supported mix of measures in several steps. The possible measures fall into two main categories: energy efficiency improvements, and the switch to renewable energy sources.In the future, low-protein raw material residues will be used to generate energy and replace fossil energy sources, as in AGRANA’s Hungarian sugar factory in Kaposvar, where beet pulp and other residues have already been used for biogas production for several years. By the end of the 2020|21 financial year, the last year of our current target period, we will develop a concrete, staged plan for decarbonisation by 2040.

  • Continuously improving our specific energy consumption thanks to our energy management systemIn the Sugar segment, we aim to reduce the average specific direct energy use per tonne of core and by-products by 5% by 2020|21 (2013|14 baseline: 2.62 GJ per tonne). In the 2017|18 financial year the Sugar segment thus already met the target for 2020|21 of reducing direct energy consumption per tonne of product output to 2.49 GJ.

The water we require during production is brought in part to the factory with the sugar beet. Sugar beet is made up of approximately 75 % water, which needs to be separated from the sugar during the production process. This water is used both for extracting the sugar from the beet pulp and for transporting and cleaning the beet. The water is cleaned and reused time and again.Overall, a sugar factory discharges more water than it withdraws and thus has a negative water consumption balance.

On-site or external waste water treatment plants ensure that the waste water produced is treated in an environmentally sensitive way in accordance with local thresholds.

Despite water being used very efficiently already at many sites, the water used per tonne of core or by-products should be reduced by a further 5 % by the end of 2020|21 (2013|14 baseline: 2.28 m3).

Sugar segment 2019 | 20
Water withdrawal in m3 per tonne of core and by-products 2.45
Water discharges in m3 per tonne of core and by-products 3.45
Water consumption in m3 per tonne of core and by-products (1.0)

It is our operating principle to maximise the utilisation of agricultural raw materials by making valuable by-products, contributing to our economic and social bottom line.

In the Sugar segment, we produce a tonne of by-products for every tonne of sugar. These make an important economic contribution while, at the same time, fulfilling an environmental function.

Given that they are largely used as fertilisers and feedstuffs for animals, they close the material cycle by returning minerals and other nutrients to the land and the food chain.

Sugar segment 2019 | 20 in tonnes
Waste disposed 38,088
of which hazardous waste 311
Kilogramme waste per tonne of product 20.4 kg
Gramme hazardous waste per tonne of product 167 g
Non-hazardous waste disposed by disposal method
Composting 1,855
Energy recovery 688
Reuse 986
Recycling 10,002
Landfill 23,187
Other 1,060

An average of 2,090 employees (headcount) worked in our Sugar segment during the 2019|20 financial year. They are a key factor for success due to their commitment, range of skills, experience and views.

Even in a challenging economic environment, AGRANA endeavours to offer interesting work, opportunities for professional and personal development and training, and a workplace environment in which employees feel integrated, respected and connected.

Employees in the Sugar Segment(at the balance sheet data of 29 February 2020)

Non-permanent staff


37.0 %

Permanent staff


27.1 %


17.7 %

White collar767

39.8 %



24.0 %

Of which Executive Leadership


11.1 %



Workplace safety in the Sugar segment

At the end of the day, it is important that all of our employees return home safely. We strive to achieve this objective by means of regular trainings on safe working processes, implementing best practice cases and providing workplace safety materials as part of our zero-accident policy.

In the 2013|14 financial year, we have started to collect workplace safety data across all business segments by means of uniform worldwide criteria.

Injury rate 19 | 20(number of accidents/ 100 employees p.a.)




Rate of high-consequence injuries 19 | 20(high-consequence injuries/ 100 employees p.a.)




Rate of fatalities 19 | 20(fatalities/ 100 employees p.a.)







Working conditions and their verification

In the 2018|19 financial year, we revised the AGRANA Code of Conduct, which establishes minimum (social) standards and rules of conduct for all employees around the world.


As part of our membership of SEDEX , which we have had since 2009, our production sites perform a SEDEX self-assessment every year. In order to underpin our commitment, we had a 4-pillar SMETA audit at our production sites in Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia conducted by independent third parties in 2017. The audit reports can be accessed by SEDEX members on the organisation’s online platform.

Employee training hours

The education and training, as well as the personal development, of our employees is important to us. Employees in the Sugar segment completed an average of 26.8 training hours in the 2019|20 financial year. In total, 89.7 % of employees completed a training course. Training and development costs amounted to 1.9 % of total wages and salaries.


In addition to a wide range of conventional and organic sugar products for use in the food and other industries, as well as for sale in the food retail business, we also produce feedstuffs for animals and fertilisers for agriculture.

Some of our certifications:

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