Resource and sparring partner for cooperatives


Introduction (ct’d)

CO-OP Champions is a Netherlands based, specialized cooperative research and advisory institute promoting learning & leadership among cooperatives. Our database covers some 3000 cooperatives in the Netherlands and 800 in food and agribusiness worldwide.

Many cooperatives struggle to preserve member ownership as their businesses continue to grow. Just to illustrate this with the ‘onslaught’ in Australia since 2007: Tatura, Sunbeam, Dairy Farmers Group, Golden Circle, ABB Grain, AWB, and Bega - once cooperatives of some sort, for different reasons they have all fallen into the hands of (foreign) investors. On 31 May 2011, SunRice just escaped, but for how long? And which one’s next - one doesn’t dare asking. Is Fonterra going to retain “100% farmer ownership and control”, following the introduction of its Trading Among Farmers scheme in November 2012?

We believe farmers should really think about building up their strategic postion in the food chain. You might not want to sell out now and lose the race of worldwide industry consolidation. As farmers you like to depend on an industry that strategically invests in your long-term interest. There’s only one way to get there: turning current cooperatives into true cooperative champions, not just domestic, but in an increasingly global market place, probably international as well. Well in advance of that investor banging your Boardroom door, or the one of your prospective next merger party.

Building a cooperative champion starts with having a cooperative strategy, integrating your business strategy with a vision for the development of your member farms, and your mutual engagement in terms of structuring the transaction relationship in ways that invite their loyalty, devising robust capital structures that for them will be attractive, and developing effective governance mechanisms that they’ll find engaging. Perhaps your efforts to develop a sound cooperative strategy will also enthuse you to reinforce your marketing proposition with your cooperative roots.

CO-OP Champions for you

On a daily basis, we try to follow the news and performance of almost 800 of the largest food & agribusiness cooperatives in some 40 countries worldwide. This activity is at the heart of our key asset: the CO-OP Champions Database. With this we hope to facilitate your learn from the bad and best practices of other cooperatives and work out your own cooperative strategy. And that gradually international farmer solidarity with replace nationalistic cooperative thinking.

Practically speaking, you may wish to call on us e.g. for a Board discussion on an issue you’re currently dealing with, invite us for a keynote presentation, a workshop or an educational program evaluating current developments in the field of cooperative strategy, to conduct an (international) cooperative benchmarking study, or a review of options e.g. feeding your internal capital structure debate or member engagement program.

If you sense that we could be of help to you as you build your co-op champion, by all means, don’t hesitate to call!

CO-OP Champions: InternationalIndependent & Informed.


CO-OP Champions

Dr. Onno F. van Bekkum

Cooperative Strategist & CEO

Van Herlaerstraat 1

5324 EA Ammerzoden

The Netherlands

Mobile: +31 (0)6-3614 5231



Independent &