Cosun is a cooperative, owned by Dutch beet growers who are its members. The cooperative is organized in districts and sections throughout the Netherlands. At the end of 2017 Cosun counted 9,182 members who own in total 6,545,105 cooperative shares (LLB’s). These shares entitle members to supply their beet to Cosun.

Cosun members website
Overview members

The European sugar market entered a new era in 2017 following the end of regulated sugar production in the European Union. The sugar beet growers, the cooperative and the sugar business group all took measures in anticipation of the changes.

In the first year without the EU common sugar market organisation, beet prices were higher than originally projected, EUR 45.62 per tonne of quota beet of average quality.

Royal Cosun is a cooperative owned by the members who supply their sugar beet to it. Until 2017, Cosun issued shares to its members. The shares were converted into registered member supply certificates in 2017. Each certificate gives a right and an obligation to supply a certain amount of beet to the cooperative.

Issues discussed by the Members’ Council during the year included:

  • the issuance of additional supply certificates
  • frost policy
  • ‘beet tourism’

The beet tourism rules were tightened up to prevent them being abused.
The cooperative’s Articles of Association and regulations were amended to enable the integration of CSV COVAS into Cosun as the Southeast Netherlands district on 1 May 2017. This district consists of four sections: Maas & Meierij/Limburg Noord, De Kempen, Limburg-Midden/De Peel and Limburg-Zuid. The integration eliminated the distinction between direct and indirect members; all members are now direct members of Cosun.

With effect from 2017, the regulations concerning the payments made to growers terminating their business were amended. Payments had previously been based on the average result in the three years before the year in which the member applied for the payment. From 2017 to 2020 payments will be increased in steps until they equal the average result in the previous seven years. After 2020, the oldest year will drop out of the calculation and the new year will be added. As a result, there will be less variation in the payment from year to year.


Jaap Smid retired after holding senior management positions in the cooperative for many years, most recently as a member of the Board. The vacancy was filled by the appointment of Ger Evenhuis. Adrie Bossers was re-elected to the Board. Hans Huistra joined the Supervisory Board, Jacqueline Rijsdijk was re-appointed.

2017 was dedicated to young people in cooperatives with a view to interesting them in management activities within cooperatives. Several members and former members of Cosun’s Youth Council have progressed to the Members’ Council in recent years. The Youth Council organised visits to various sites operated by the Cosun business groups and looked at the dynamic field of agro-data.

In June 2017, it was decided to increase the number of supply certificates in issue by 8%. The increased capacity of the two Dutch sugar factories requires a structural increase in the volume of beet supplied in order to optimise their utilisation rates and efficiency. The allocation for 2018 has been reduced from 112% to 107%. This means that the members will be able to deliver about 3% more quota beet than in 2017.

Even though the 2017 growing season was far from ideal, the beet harvest reached an all-time high and there were remarkably few disappointing fields. The beet campaign accordingly lasted more than 150 days. The last beet were not processed until 10 February 2018.

At the end of February 2018, a majority of beet growers had registered to use the Unitip system. Crop registration in Unitip is compulsory as from the 2018 campaign. The system records how the beet are grown and the measures that are taken to improve the yield. It provides detailed information on the sustainability of the sugar we sell to major international customers. These customers are making stricter demands regarding sustainability. Suiker Unie intends to remain one of the leading producers and to stand out for the sustainability of its sugar.