CoBT will produce sugar and by-products with a low ecological footprint thanks to its farmer-centred cooperative model and highly efficient factory (the most modern in Europe).
Economical: CoBT will have very low production costs that will enable it to withstand the main economic uncertainties of its model over time, namely the price of sugar and energy.
Ecological: The CoBT factory will have a significant environmental advantage due to its small supply and sales radius and lower (-45%) and cleaner (-45%) energy consumption than the competition. In addition, the sugar extraction process follows a “zero waste” rationale, whereby all raw materials, except water, are recovered.
Social: The cooperative members will be remunerated fairly either by payment for their beet supply or by a reasonable dividend (for more information, click here). CoBT will also generate 100 direct and 300 indirect jobs (FTE equivalents).
CoBT was designed to enable its cooperative farmers to receive fair remuneration for their beet production.
The CoBT’s financial model is based on the beet farmer’s production cost (estimated at €2400 per hectare of beet in 2023). To be attractive, the CoBT must not only be able to offer a price that covers this cost in all the most likely situations, but also to pay the beet grower cooperative members, suppliers and shareholders alike, a fair remuneration for their work and investment. Such fair remuneration will be made possible by the transfer of the bulk of the margin for processing beet into sugar in the beet purchase price, which will constitute the ‘cooperative advantage’.
Supporting, strategic and financial cooperative members will be remunerated by a dividend in accordance with the accredited cooperatives act.
A local, non-relocated cooperative
CoBT is a Belgian cooperative company , mainly owned by its raw material suppliers (beet growers), whose production tool is the land of their farms. It is therefore non-relocatable. To be viable, a sugar factory must be located in the heart of its supply region.
A crop well adopted to our region
Known to Europeans for its nutritious qualities for several centuries, sugar beet is a plant very well adapted to the Belgian soil. The development of its cultivation has enabled Europe to become self-sufficient in sucrose.
The loamy soil and temperate climate with oceanic influences which characterize Belgium provide an exceptional setting for sugar beet. Belgium ranks in the top three beet and sugar yields in Europe every year.
Whereas yields in other parts of Europe may be affected by climate change, yields in Belgium have remained high and constant to date.
Local and natural products
Sugar is synthesized by the beet by fixing atmospheric carbon through photosynthesis. One hectare of beet fixes about 40 t of CO2. Sugar is extracted from the beet by osmosis, which is a simple physical process. Unlike most sweeteners, there is no chemical process involved.
In addition to “conventional” production, CoBT is preparing to produce sugar that meets the specifications of organic farming.
CoBT targets primarily a local market, i.e. customers located within a ca. 300 km radius around Seneffe.
Pulp (beet flesh) is the main by-product of the sugar beet industry. It is recovered locally as feed for the cooperatives and other interested farmers.