One of the main concerns of this study is to translate environmental practices into strategic actions. This paper aims to analyze how a representative segment of the Brazilian agribusiness, the Mato Grosso do Sul sugarcane industry, is dealing with environmental management at the strategic level. Three data sources were used, which are: semi-structured interviews, questionnaire, and a review of documents and reports. The analysis of interview and documents was carried out through content analysis. Data triangulation was used to combine the results of all three research tools. The methodology is the application of a sustainability assessment model. By analyzing the Brazilian sugarcane main practices, this industry still heavily emphasizes corrective actions focused both on monitoring and on controlling. However, data suggest an increasing effort towards preventive behavior and towards understanding environmental sustainability as a business strategy. This study promotes the knowledge of the indicators to measure the sustainable performance of the sugarcane energy sector. The relevance of the research is amplified considering that Brazil is one of the main countries producing sugarcane and ethanol; the socio-environmental impact of this sector; and the challenges for the measurement of sustainability in agribusiness.
Key words: Agribusiness, environmental sustainability, strategy, sustainability indicators.
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