Environmental performance depends largely on yield per hectare
A key factor in the environmental impact of sugar is the yield per hectare. Total yields per hectare differ for cane sugar and beet sugar: in 2017 these were 9 tonnes/ha and 15 tonnes/ha respectively.
The study reveals that in general the production of beet sugar by Suiker Unie has the best environmental profile. It has a lower impact in the categories climate change, formation of particulate matter, land use and water use compared with cane sugar produced in Brazil and India and glucose syrup. Only cane sugar from India with additional energy production has a lower impact on climate change and particulate matter compared with beet sugar produced by Suiker Unie. The environmental performance of cane sugar depends heavily on the country where it is produced, especially for the impact on climate change and water use, and certainly if emissions from land use change are taken into consideration.