In south Louisiana, the sugarcane grows high, and the heritage of the sugarcane industry runs deep.
For nearly 130 years, generations of Louisiana sugar workers have refined raw sugar at the Louisiana Sugar Refining (LSR) refinery in Gramercy, Louisiana.
The American Sugar Alliance recently spoke to Larry Faucheux, CEO of LSR, about the contributions that the LSR refinery has made to a strong Louisiana and how LSR is moving its sustainability practices forward. This is the latest video in our ongoing series to document the many ways that sugar farmers and workers across the country produce #SugarSustainably.
The story of the sugar being refined at the LSR refinery starts on the farm. Approximately 800 Louisiana sugarcane farmers grow the sugarcane crops that are then turned into raw sugar at eight mills. These mills send their raw sugar to the LSR refinery, which produces the crystalized white sugar that most people are familiar with.
A lot of sugar, in fact. The LSR refinery produces six million pounds of sugar a day.
It’s truly a local business. All of the sugarcane farmers that supply the LSR refinery grow their crops within a 110-mile radius of the refinery. Most of the 400 refinery workers live within 10 miles of the refinery – and for many, their family histories are intertwined with the refinery’s history.
“The attraction for me to this refinery has always been the heritage of it,” Faucheux says. “Many people who work here have third, fourth, and fifth-generation heritage.”
Faucheux is the third generation in his family to work in the refinery.
Knowing the role that the refinery plays in supporting local families and Louisiana’s economy has driven LSR to continue its investment in sustainable practices.
“LSR’s view of sustainability is one of three different pillars that need to be followed. They include an economic pillar, an environmental pillar and a social pillar,” Faucheux explained.
LSR has worked with third-party organizations to certify its sustainability practices. It partnered with the global organization Sedex to ensure the refinery was fulfilling sustainable requirements. At the farm level, LSR uses a program called the SAI Platform to measure sustainability in the field.
“LSR truly believes that in order for us to be sustainable there should be a good supply chain in place that takes it from the plant itself in the field all the way to the customer and therefore we have worked very hard in both directions. We sit between the customer and that plant that is in the field,” Faucheux said.
With the efforts that the LSR refinery has made to further improve its environmental practices, strengthen its economic impact and support the strong social fabric of Louisiana’s communities, we have no doubt that the refinery will still be producing sugar sustainably in another 130 years.