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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Carbon Footprint and Sustainable Management of Water

Asociación de Azucareros de Guatemala (
Private sector

    From the Sugarcane Agroindustry, we are committed to improve the responsible use of water and integrated watershed management and thus contribute to achieve by 2030 that the Pacific rivers in the area of influence of sugar reach their mouths, developing a management strategy by 2027 and thus reach a zero impact from the sugarcane sector on the water quality of the rivers in the area of influence. In this way, we will eliminate the furrow irrigation system by 2026 and thus achieve 85% of the area managed by sugarcane under a water balance approach by 2030.

    Even though the carbon footprint of our sugar is one of the lowest in the world and we already contribute to avoid 4 million tons of carbon a year through the generation of electricity from sugarcane biomass, we pledge to further reduce our emissions to match our country's NDC commitments. Therefore, by 2030 we commit to reduce carbon emissions by more than 11%, as well as to reduce deforestation on sugarcane farms by 5% by 2024. We will also work together with our associates, so that by 2030 all the necessary actions are implemented to reduce the impacts on 100% of the critical flooding sites, and thus, operate private public systems for emergency response in the territories of influence of the sector.

    We will work on the care and protection of protected areas and in this sense, we will develop the recovery and protection of forests in an area equivalent to 10% of the area cultivated with sugar cane in the upper part of the basins or in mangrove areas as well as recover 400 kilometers of riverside forests in the Guatemalan Pacific area by 2030 and we are committed by 2027, a zero impact on the forests of the sugar cane area by the use of agrochemicals and crop burns.

    Expected Impact

    From the private sector, we understand that there is a commitment and great efforts to achieve the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to face the main global challenges, such as the fight against climate change and poverty reduction. Therefore, from ASAZGUA, we are committed to Sustainable Development and we promote the improvement of the quality of life through economic development, we use resources efficiently, we promote the circular economy, all this always from the search to improve environmental ecosystems, promoting clean technologies.

    Therefore, we develop sustainability actions and practices that are being implemented to contribute with our country to achieve the goals proposed to reach an integral sustainable development, so we work in the environmental, social and economic dimensions.

    Our sector is a key player in the development of the country and therefore our responsibility is also great. We understand our role as generators of opportunities and prosperity for millions of people in Guatemala, but we also assume the responsibility of doing so by generating decent employment, promoting development in the communities through social programs focused on education, health and municipal strengthening, through a self-management model that promotes empowerment and citizen participation of women, youth, teachers, health workers, community leaders and local authorities.

    We produce responsibly, taking advantage of and using natural resources in a sustainable manner, and to this end we have implemented concrete actions, such as precision agriculture techniques, use and development of technologies in our processes, water reuse, renewable energy generation, among others.
    Therefore, our actions contribute and add to national and global efforts to meet the country goals of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, as well as the Climate Change and Biodiversity Agendas.

    In addition to sugar as food, the Agroindustry works directly on water and energy issues as priority focuses and we ensure the implementation of concrete actions linked to other sustainable development objectives such as responsible production and consumption SDG 12, the end of poverty SDG1, the decent work SDG8, the end of hunger through the improvement of agricultural productivity and the improvement of the income of small producers and the improvement of the sustainability of production systems SDG2 , the reduction of inequalities SDG10, the care of biodiversity SDG15, fighting against climate change SDG13, education of quality SDG 4, the improvement of health services SDG3, and we seek for constant innovation and technologies SDG9 .


    Private Institute for Climate Change Research (ICC),
    Centro Guatemalteco de Investigación y Capacitación de la Caña de Azúcar Cengicaña,
    Fundación del Azúcar -Fundazúcar, and
    The Miles members of the Guatemalan Sugar Producers -ASAZGUA-

    Additional information

    The Asociacion de Azucareros de Guatemala (ASAZGUA), was created in 1957 to develop and improve sugarcane crops and to coordinate the activities of the Guatemala Sugar Agroindustry. It includes 11 sugar producers and four technical organizations specialized in:

    CENGICAÑA started research activities to develop new varieties of sugarcane, to have integrated pest management, to study land quality and to implement more efficient processes for the cultivation of sugarcane and for the production of sugar. climate change

    EXPOGRANEL, one of the most efficient boarding terminals for sugar export in the world, was launched to cover international markets in a more efficient and competitive manner.

    In 2010, the Private Institute for Climate Change Research (ICC) was created to perform research, activities and projects related to climate change.

    FUNDAZUCAR was launched as the social branch for the development and implementation of programs and projects on health, education and development.

    Currently, Guatemala is the third largest producer in Latin America and the fifth largest exporter of sugar in the world1. Sugar is the fourth most exported product in Guatemala. The Guatemala Sugar Agroindustry generates more than US $756 million in foreign exchange annually.

    ASAZGUA is committed to promote the implementation and fulfillment of the objectives and goals of the 2030 Agenda, as well as other global agendas, such as Climate Change, Biodiversity and Human Rights. For this reason, we work on actions directed in the three axes as the basis for achieving the sustainable development.

    The Sugar Agroindustry has implemented practices to reduce water consumption and to ensure the rational use of this resource.

    Water consumption in agricultural processes has been reduced through the implementation of efficient irrigation systems as well as with the use of new innovative technologies and processes such as the dry cleaning of sugarcane which reduces substantially the use of vital liquids.

    The Sugar Cane Agroindustry, produces electricity for the operation of the sugar mills and covers at least 30% of the electricity demanded in the country, all this using 100% of the residual biomass (bagasse) obtained during sugar production, as well as decreasing the use of water and improving techniques that allow the production of green energy; to remain as an Agroindustry with zero net GHG emissions,

    The generation of renewable electricity from biomass has prevented 1.5 million tons of CO2 from reaching the environment by reducing the use of fossil fuels to generate energy. This neutralizes GHG emissions from sugar production.

    The Guatemalan Sugarcane Industry is aware that responsible operations, a focus on a sustainability strategy and the circular economy, all together contribute to the value chain. Also committed to a sustainable production of sugar throughout a responsible use of water, energy production and research and development Our commitment is based in the national legal framework and Asazgua´s environmental policies.

    Goal 6

    Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

    Goal 6


    By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all


    Proportion of population using safely managed drinking water services


    By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations


    Proportion of population using (a) safely managed sanitation services and (b) a hand-washing facility with soap and water


    By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally


    Proportion of domestic and industrial wastewater flows safely treated


    Proportion of bodies of water with good ambient water quality


    By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity

    Change in water-use efficiency over time


    Level of water stress: freshwater withdrawal as a proportion of available freshwater resources


    By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate


    Degree of integrated water resources management 


    Proportion of transboundary basin area with an operational arrangement for water cooperation


    By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes

    Change in the extent of water-related ecosystems over time


    By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies

    Amount of water- and sanitation-related official development assistance that is part of a government-coordinated spending plan


    Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management


    Proportion of local administrative units with established and operational policies and procedures for participation of local communities in water and sanitation management

    Goal 7

    Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

    Goal 7


    By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services


    Proportion of population with access to electricity


    Proportion of population with primary reliance on clean fuels and technology


    By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix

    Renewable energy share in the total final energy consumption


    By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency

    Energy intensity measured in terms of primary energy and GDP


    By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology

    International financial flows to developing countries in support of clean energy research and development and renewable energy production, including in hybrid systems


    By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and land-locked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programmes of support


    Installed renewable energy-generating capacity in developing countries (in watts per capita)

    Name Description
    85% of the area managed by sugarcane under a water balance approach
    Recover 400 kilometers of riverside forests in the Guatemalan Pacific area
    Reduce the impacts on 100% of the critical flooding sites, and thus, operate private public systems for emergency response in the territories of influence of the sector
    Zero impact on the forests of the sugar cane area by the use of agrochemicals and crop burns
    Financing (in USD)
    Annually in ASAZGUA we allocate $375,000 to programs that contribute to water management and carbon footprint. In addition, each mill has a significant investment in water and carbon issues.
    Staff / Technical expertise
    We have the necessary human resources to implement the programs and achieve the objectives. We have four professionals assigned to accompany the sugarmills in the implementation of the water and carbon emission reduction program.
    In-kind contribution
    We Invests in research and development through three of our specialized technical organizations: CENGICAÑA, ICC to conduct research, and projects related to climate change and FUNDAZUCAR for the implementation of health and education programs
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    Action Network
    water logo
    20 March 2023 (start date)
    31 March 2030 (date of completion)
    Asociación de Azucareros de Guatemala
    1. Latin America and the Caribbean
    Other beneficiaries

    Inhabitants of the region, girls and women and vulnerable peoples, small farmers, municipalities of the region, autochthonous fauna and flora.

    More information
    Contact Information

    Andrea Carolina , Sustainability director