Our Role

The International Sugar Organization is the unique intergovernmental body devoted to improving conditions on the world's sugar market through Debate, Analysis, Special Studies, Transparent Statistics, Seminars, Conferences and Workshops. The proactive attitude to include ethanol from sugar crops in our activities already in the mid-90s helped to promote the increasing role of biofuels in the future energy-mix worldwide.

The ISO is based in London, the 87 member states of the ISO represent (based on data for 2015):

  • 87% of world sugar production
  • 68% of world sugar consumption
  • 92% of world exports
  • 39% of world imports

The ISO exists to administer the internationally negotiated 1992 International Sugar Agreement (ISA), the objectives of which are: 

  • to ensure enhanced international cooperation in connection with world sugar matters and related issues.
  • to provide a forum for intergovernmental consultations on sugar and on ways to improve the world sugar economy.
  • to facilitate trade by collecting and providing information on the world sugar market and other sweeteners.
  • to encourage increased demand for sugar, particularly for non-traditional uses. 

To fulfil these objectives the ISO undertakes many distinct activities:  

  • The ISO is the only worldwide forum for the exchange of views by major producing, consuming and trading countries at an intergovernmental level. Council sessions, held twice a year in May and November, afford the opportunity for policy issues to be debated at a multi-lateral level. 
  • The ISO contributes significantly to improved market transparency through its long established and widely recognized statistical and analytical activities. The Market Evaluation, Consumption & Statistics Committee (MECAS), also meeting twice a year, allows a serious and in depth debate of the short term market perspective based on the ISO Secretariat's independent view, longer term perspectives and studies carried out by the Secretariat and others of issues and problems of common interest to members.

  • The ISO holds annual Seminars with the objective of increasing knowledge and understanding of the sugar market and related problems. Starting in 1991, ISO Seminars have already established themselves as important and well organized events on the sugar calendar, not only providing a wealth of information but giving the opportunity for decision makers representing growers, processors, trade, governments, banks and press to gather together.

  • The ISO holds Workshops on subjects of special interest and importance to the sugar world. Topics covered include: The Implications of the GATT Uruguay/WTO Round for Sugar, Alcohol & the Environment; Alternative Uses of Sugar and By-products; Alternative Uses of Bagasse, Developments, Opportunities in Sugar Technology (beet/cane) and Diversification; World Market Situation and Impact of Latin America on Sugar Markets; Cogeneration, RTAs, Alternative Sweeteners, Prices/Exchange Rates, Futures, Freight Rates, Consumption Patterns.

The ISO will continue to grow its activities. Expanding from its traditional areas of sugar statistics, short and long term forecasting and market analysis, the ISO is tackling issues like sugar and health, sugar and the environment, fortification of sugar with Vitamin A, Organic Sugar and the promotion of sugar. Product coverage has been expanded to deal with related or associated products like alcohol, molasses and alternative sweeteners, both calorific and non-calorific, biofuels, Carbon Credit Trading.