What reducetarianism is and its relationship with organic sugar?

Reducetarianism is a movement that aims to improve human health, protect the environment, and prevent animal cruelty by reducing the consumption of animal-based products. On the other hand, justice involves distributing benefits and responsibilities equitably. When applied to sugar production worldwide, these principles can lead to significant changes towards a more conscious world.
Finding a balance between the added value or benefits of preferring a product like sugar from organic farming, and the responsibility of both producers and consumers regarding the environmental and social impact of the production process of such an important food ingredient over time is crucial. This is especially important now when many movements demonize sugar without considering its economic, social, and environmental roles.
In the production process, the importance of the connections between rural communities, in this case, beneficiaries of employment generated in organic sugarcane farming, and major urban consumption centers, for whom sugar is part of their staple food basket, is emphasized.
Therefore, as an industry, we want to highlight how the sugar agro-industry promotes functional territories and regions that contribute to the efficient use of resources and the protection of ecosystems (Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit, Department of Planning and Urban Design, 2019).
The way the food supply chain distributes goods to people, their environmental surroundings, and their quality of life, as well as changes in diet associated with urban living conditions, define the demand for certain foods, impacting the value chain and its production processes (United Nations Conference on Sustainable Urban Development, 2015). Responsibility begins from those working in sugarcane fields all the way to the consumers, and includes factors such as their nutritional and health status (Resnik, 2022), in which the conscious consumption of organic sugar plays a fundamental role.
Environmental justice has incorporated, in today’s context, the debate on the local and global resilience of communities to climate change, taking into account qualitative variables related to socio-economic, cultural, and ethnic dynamics of the populations involved (Bowser & Cid, 2020). From a bioethical perspective, economic models such as globalization and rural-urban migration processes have also generated environmental responsibilities, as they have neglected rural areas and led to a disproportionate distribution of resources and increased inequality (JA, 2013).

The organic sugar production chain links environmental services, social services, economic benefits, and high-quality processes including planting, production, storage, processing, marketing, and packaging. It helps to reduce the inequalities generated in the socio-economic gap between rural and urban areas, farmers and consumers. This is evident in the data from sugarcane production in Colombia, where an environmental justice approach has fostered the creation of links between rural and urban areas, uniting these links in a continuum within the agri-food chain.
One way to start bridging the rural-urban divide, connecting farmers with consumers, is precisely by reinforcing and making visible the links that exist between them. It helps build community based on interactions among different individuals, raising awareness of the shared interests and responsibilities they have, acknowledging what they have in common. It is not just about producing tons of sugar, but also about generating tons of bridging social capital, common identities, and doing so in a just manner. Promoting intergroup contact is crucial to avoid dangerous societal fragmentation and, on the contrary, generate additional benefits in economic, social, and political capital. In this sense, organic sugarcane production creates connections that increase environmental benefits and shared responsibilities.
In Colombia, sugarcane cultivation is one of the most important sources of employment after coffee. The organic production of Ingenio Providencia encompasses approximately 3,750 hectares surrounded by native bamboo forests and small areas of tropical dry forests, reflecting the biodiversity of the Valle del Cauca landscape. These living barriers serve the purpose of safeguarding the crops from agrochemical residues used in neighboring plantations, while also serving as habitat for a wide variety of wild bird species associated with the forest. Another example of responsible practice adopted by organic sugarcane producers is the use of waste from other stages of the production chain as fertilizers for their crops (such as sugarcane bagasse, ash, vinasse, leaf, and filter cake). They also release beneficial insects for pest and disease control, demonstrating their commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly practices.
For over 20 years, this responsible organic management has not only brought benefits to soil health by improving fertility but has also fostered a connection with the rural community in the surrounding areas by generating more employment opportunities for sustainable practices such as manual weeding.

The role of Ingenio Providencia in the global fight for environmental justice

The production of sugarcane in Colombia is an important sector in the national and global agro-industry. In the Cauca River Valley (Cauca, Valle, Caldas, Risaralda, and Quindío), there are 244,000 hectares of planted sugarcane. Approximately 75% of these hectares belong to around 7,500 small-scale growers, while only 25% is owned by sugar mills (Herrera, 2022). According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the private sector can make a significant contribution to processes for peace consolidation, inclusion, the advancement of the rule of law, and the elimination of corruption, particularly for underrepresented groups and with the intention of ensuring that no one is left behind (ECLAC, 2019).
A sustainable biosphere, integrating the human species, has guided climate justice, creating interdisciplinary groups involving all stakeholders in the scientific community to lead environmental solutions (Bowser & Cid, 2020). Concrete actions from private sector companies and governments are certainly needed to combat climate change, but

consumers themselves play a significant role in addressing these issues. Individual behavior as eco-friendly consumers define decisions that result in the mitigation of negative impacts on climate change and can be influenced by large companies (Habib, White, Hardisty, & Zhao, 2021).
A study conducted at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, categorized behavior change strategies for consumers into five psychological factors: Social Influence (related to “norms”), Habits, Self-perception (self-efficacy), Feelings and Knowledge (related to negative effects), and Tangible Effects. We often rely on our level of knowledge to make decisions regarding environmental actions, and it is common to believe that sustainable processes are not as effective as the traditional ways of producing the same product (Bowser & Cid, 2020). However, these five factors serve as communication pathways that can significantly influence consumer behavior and dietary choices, inspired by reducetarianism.


Under the principle of Justice, consuming organic sugar helps forge a healthy and sustainable common destiny for our society, build shared values, and create community bonds from rural to urban areas. Understanding this principle, one of the five principles embraced by the reducetarian trend applied to the production of organic sugar and led in Colombia by Ingenio Providencia, contributes to creating an environment where organic inputs and agricultural practices are inherent. It becomes a laboratory of knowledge and sustainability, minimizing carbon footprint and water footprint related to the sugar agro-industrial work.

NOTE. The scientific articles referred to throughout this campaign are freely available. To obtain any of them, you can request them by writing to
comunicaciones@functionalcorp.com. If you need further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.