Photo Credit: Joe Woodruff / Bonsucro

About Adelante Initiative

Adelante provides what is essentially a dynamic lab at one of the most logistically competent mills in the Americas, Ingenio San Antonio in Nicaragua. The Adelante Initiative’s founding partners are the following: Bonsucro, La Isla Network, Nicaragua Sugar Estates Limited and The Nicaraguan Sugar Producers Association.

Data collected by the initiative will provide a foundation for the lessons learned from our efforts in a pre-competitive space via Bonsucro and through other means so that all stakeholders may benefit regionally and globally. Learnings will help inform the Bonsucro certification and be used to inform policy advocacy for worker protections on the state and international level.

Our hope is that we can support, and be supported by all producers along the supply chain looking to ensure their sugarcane is sourced responsibly and in line with their procurement goals. We aim to continuously improve sourcing and certification standards as well as production standards.

Further, we look to development banks to be proactive in both the assessment of risks in the labor forces of the industries they work with, and in encouraging and supporting evidence-based interventions designed to limit risks in the workforce associated with CKDu and other negative outcomes.

Purpose and Aim

The global market and related growth in developing economies has exponentially increased demand for commodities that has not been matched by occupational health and safety policy. Workers, particularly manual workers in agricultural, are increasingly vulnerable to unregulated high-work intensities, unsafe work practices and a wide range of occupational exposures. Ambient heat exposure at levels common in tropical and subtropical areas already reduces performance and work capacity1. Due to increasingly warmer climates in recent years, 30-40% of annual daylight hours will become too hot for work in some regions. This will likely have severe social and economic affects and substantial global gross domestic product loss.

LIN aims to develop and evaluate occupational health impact assessments and mitigation of heat stress at work by:

  • Assessment of the scale and scope of heat stress, renal function and chronic kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDu) in at-risk workplaces
  • Adaptation of evidence-based workplace intervention protocols to the unique cultural and economic realities in impacted and at-risk populations
  • Advocacy for improved surveillance, treatment and prevention of heat stress and CKDu in policy dialogues with private and public sectors in impacted regions. Such advocacy will be supported by interactive websites, workshops, and training materials.

The specific aims for the Adelante Initiative are to:

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Develop implementation and training materials so other companies can implement appropriate interventions at their work sites.

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Design evidence-based interventions that successfully deliver a three-component (Water.Rest.Shade) intervention that reduces heat stress for field operations.

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Assess feasibility of providing a heat stress intervention based on the following:

  • Sufficient accessible water supply and adequate water intake during daily work
  • Sufficient accessible shaded areas or shade tents utilized by workforce
  • Sufficient rest breaks designed to recover from heat related impacts on physiology
  • Develop qualitative assessment tool to document the three components of the heat stress intervention
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Assess pre- and post-intervention changes in health outcomes and determine degree of change by jobs with different levels of workload

  • Assess heat strain symptoms of workers
  • Assess kidney function of workers

1. Watts et al 2017