Biggest Sustainable Company in Netherlands

Suiker Unie is biggest sustainable company in Netherlands that produces sugar and is number one in sustainability


About Suiker Unie

Suiker Unie is a member of Royal Cosun and they produce and supplies sugar products to the industrial and food sectors in Europe. You can say that they are responsible for the process that makes a sugar beet into sugar for the food industry. The company also uses the extracts components from the sugar beets which can be used for an entirely different application.sustainable company suker unie

They sow the sugar beet between March and April and harvested around September. The three sugar factories in Dinteloord (north Brabant), Vierverlaten (Groningen) and Anklam (northern Germany) process the beet into sugar between September and January.  Suiker Unie is also one of the largest green gas producers in the Netherlands. They produce this green gas by using the organic residual matter. The factory in Anklam also produces bio-ethanol. They also have specialties factories in Puttershoek and Roosendaal , these factories make sugar specialties like soft sugar, icing sugar and syrup. All the sugar that Suiker Unie produces will be sold to the food industry and retail market under the Van Gilse brand.

The current situation at Suiker Unie

The current mission of Suiker Unie is to be the best in what they do. As optimally and sustainable as possible they want to increase the value of all components of the sugar beet.

They want to improve the company by working closely together with their tailors and partners. They want to achieve this by improving the useful components of the sugar beet over and over.  Also Suiker Unie wants to do something with the fact that more and more people are focusing on what they eat. Excessive consumption use of sugar is not good, just like all of the other food products. Suiker Unie thinks that the consumers need to get good information about what’s in a product, also the quantity of sugar.  So you could say a goal of Suiker Unie is to care more for the people and the environment. They also want to keep in touch with their local residents, because if there will be new plans the people will not be surprised if there will be for example suddenly a new storage area.  Suiker Unie wants to be sure that everyone knows what is going on.

The goal for the future is very clear, Suiker Unie wants to use every component of the sugar beet and maximise the sustainable value in our efficient factories so we can take care of people and the environment. They also want to build up a sustainable relationship with their customers by encourage them to eat a varied diet and live an active lifestyle.

The structure of Suiker Unie is known as very social, because they are known as a good employer that recognizes the importance of the personal development, health and safety of its employees.  They want the best for their employees, because the employees are the heart of the business. Suiker Unie also has national and international social projects with themes that are competence to the company.  Suiker Unie works together with their partners in the chain and they respect the interests of other stakeholders. They give a high priority on customer-service, continuity of the sugar beets and sustainability.

Another thing very important at Suiker Unie is sustainability.  You can say that sustainability is one of their key words. They work on investments of future-proofing the factories. For example raising the efficiency and reducing the energy consumption. Suiker Unie also cares for the people and environment so this will be important for the future.  We have therefore set our sights on a further reduction in CO2 emissions. Also the CSR working group makes the staff more aware of Suiker Unies corporate social responsibility.  In 2017 there is an end on the sugar market regulation, so this offers a lot of new opportunities for the sugar beet as green raw material. They also created new ambitions for all the pillars of the sustainability program.  They want to process more and use less energy and they want to keep the same enthusiastic people.  Inside Suiker Unie they have a TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) which is a program for improvements. This program minimizes the losses and waste material.  There is a strong link between this program and sustainability, therefore
CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is looking for a way how sustainability will fit in to the TPM program.  Also there is a national sustainability day, where Suiker Unie takes place every year. Each year has his own theme and if that theme fits with your company, maybe you find a way so you can do something about it. They threat all of their materials with care and make sure that we constantly and successfully take measures to reduce the energy consumption, work efficient and reduce the emission.  There was also set up a Biodiversity and Beet Cultivation program to make the people more aware of the importance of soil to beet cultivation. This program fits also with their ambition to achieve an average yield of 16.2 tons of sugar per hectare of sugar beet in the Netherlands by 2020. Suiker Unie is a huge promoter of green gas as a transport fuel. The idea is that 35% of diesel will be replaced by vegetable residuals.  If for example trucks will use this gas the emission will be reduced in the areas of their costumer locations.

To look at Suiker Unie at different aspects we can use the model of Porter’s five forces. What contents:

  1. Potential new entrants – Suiker Unie does not have to be that afraid that there will be a lot of new sugar producers in the Netherlands. At the moment Suiker Unie is the only one in Holland. There will not be so much competition because it is not a huge sector. Suiker Unie delivers to suppliers and those suppliers deliver it to supermarkets or other retail business that work with sugar. Technology does not play a role in this.
  2. Bargaining power of buyers- Also this point does not really affect the amount of sugar Suiker Unie produces, because they have a determined amount of sugar beet they will sow, harvest and process into sugar. Of course if the costumers will ask for more products which include sugar than the amount of sugar can be raised. This ask for sugar can raise if,  for example the internet tells people that sugar is not that bad for you or that you need sugar to function well.
  3. Bargaining power of suppliers- power of suppliers does not really have a huge role at Suiker Unie, because people ask for the sugar and the only thing suppliers have to do is to deliver it to the supermarkets or retail business who uses the sugar. Your supplier can be stubbornly by not delivering the sugar, but if you have a good bond with your supplier that will not happen.
  4. Threat of substitute products – this can be a huge threat for Suiker Unie. You also see it a lot now a days, because sugar will be replaced more and more. People read on the internet that sugar is bad for them, that it makes them fat and that they should avoid it. So people will buy less products which includes sugar and therefore Suiker Unie has to prove that sugar isn’t that bad at all. They produce it, so they have to convince the costumer to eat still sugar so the retail businesses and supermarkets still want a lot of products with sugar in it.
  5. Rivalry among competitors – this sector is influenced by the four sectors named before. Here it is important that the company can distinguish themselves from their competitors. They have to distinguish themselves as well as by cost, technology and product differentiation. For Suiker Unie this is no problem because there are no other sugar producers in the country, so they do not have to compete with other companies.

If we look at the internal environment of Suiker Unie you got weaknesses and strengths. Suiker Unie has a lot of strengths because they want the best for their employees and for the people outside the company. One of the strengths is the safety inside the company. Safety is a priority for all Suiker Unie’s factories. Inside Suiker Unie there is never a reason to weaken the attention devoted to safety. You can see this in the number of unsafe situations that are reported and if there are unsafe situations, measures will be taken on the hand of a report.

Another strength in the company are the many trainings that are offered internally and externally to the employees. Employees also get the opportunity to volunteer in the internal work placements, so they can see what their colleges are doing. This increases understanding and cooperation between the departments.  Suiker Unie also wants to improve all the time, what is definitely an strength. Because the continuously improving of its performance, Suiker Unie encourages the personal development of its staff

There is also an external environment which got opportunities and threats. For example there was a period when the local residents in Vierverlaten complained about the smells. This can be seen as a threat, because the people are not happy with the factory and maybe may complain about it to other people so Suiker Unie will get a bad name.  But Suiker Unie tries to have a good communication with its local residents, so they can talk about this and in this way the company will notice the complaining’s and can do something about it. So this can be seen as an opportunity, because they improved their selves by making the residents happier because there is less smell.  Another thing that might be seen as a threat is that Suiker Unie is seasonal. Agriculture is mostly only possible around spring and summer and let this also be in this case, because the sugar beet has to grow when the sun is shining and the weather is nice. But if the harvest fails you have a problem, because you cannot sow again in September because of the weather. So when the harvest fails you lose a lot of money. It also has a positive side that Suiker Unie is seasonal, because than you can really focus on what you have to do. In the summer period you have to focus on the growing sugar beet and in the autumn/winter season they have to focus on the produces period.  You can say that they really take time for it, because they only have to focus on one thing.  Another thing that might be an opportunity is the people’s thoughts about sugar now days. Lots of people think that sugar makes them fat, but instead of this thought, sugar can be good for you. And this is an opportunity for Suiker Unie to let the people believe that sugar is indeed not that bad as they think. Or they can try to make other types of sugar (if this is possible).  Anyway they can do a lot with these thoughts of the people.

So we can conclude that Suiker Unie is doing very well. They are always looking for improvements and that makes it a strong company. If they see threats or weaknesses they want to find a solution for it immediately and most of the time they find it. This is possible because the employees are appreciated and the connections with the local residents are good.  Employees are willing to make Suiker Unie a better company and together you achieve more.

Strategic gap of Suikerunie

SuikerUnie focuses in North West Europe and has the lowest possible price for sugar. They trying to give their all attention to the entire production chain: from sugar beet growing to the packaging into supermarket shelves. Organization wants to be the best what it does from the sustainability side in the first place and process more sugar beet and use less energy with the same amount of employees.

SuikerUnie had their own goals to themselves to measure the progress every year. Organizations target 16.2 tons of sugar beet and 18% of sugar in it to be produced per hectare by 2020. When at this moment they are with 15.3 tons produced per year. To follow the progress they taking attention to the Chain responsibility to keep quality costumer services, sustainable beet growing and cooperation between its growers and sugar production institute. They inform the growers about new techniques and ways to enhance the production, yield at the same time caring of sustainable as well.

SuikerUnie seeks to reduce the emissions released through the process and get the balance between sustainability and profitability. Their sustainable aim to reduce carbon footprint of sugar production by 40% to this progress organization invested in energy savings and capacity. Company is working on changes in transport. About 35% of Diesel is replaced with green gas when truck is unloading or in position of idling. The proportion will be increased every year. Furthermore, to complete the goal of 50% less energy consumption the factory built a new diffusion tower which uses less energy and processes more sugar beet. Besides that, SuikerUnie treat raw material very carefully and tries to extract and get maximum as possible from it and reduce energy use.

Organization wants to build a sustainable relationship with the consumers. They believe that sugar is a part of a varied diet but not saying that is healthy to for overweight people and encouraging them to eat varied diet and live an active lifestyle. Because many people are imbalanced with their intake and use of energy from the calories they get daily. According these facts SuikerUnie gives clear information on packaging of sugar what are nutrition values and content of it. They made innovation for the new sugar cubes which has two timeless calories and are the same sweet as a normal sugar.

For the social engagement company seeks to reduce VCA accidents to less than 10 and minimize the number of local complaints by taking them into the account. Safety is the priority when at the same time working many people in organization. Factories monitoring inside and outside working areas to make sure they can react quickly if situation appears. They can measure the number of unsafe situations from the reports received.