Sustainable #agriculture and the responsible fertilizer market
The European Union and its governing structures strongly support the responsible use of fertilizers in the region. EU countries are not the biggest fertilizer users in the world, but the region has a significant number of companies working in the industry. Even though the potential for growth is high due to product innovation and a growing market for healthy, nutrient-rich foods, demand is likely to be restricted by the expanding application of organic fertilizers and regulatory constraints.
Recent years have seen considerable growth in policies and recommendations regarding responsible fertilizer use and sustainable agriculture. For instance, all EU resident companies starting from the fiscal year beginning on January 1, 2017 or within a calendar year, are obliged to include in their annual accounts aspects related to corporate social responsibility (CSR), business environmental liability, human rights and anti-corruption. This is in accordance with the European Parliament Directive on non-financial reporting 2014/95/EU of October 22, 2014.
Moreover, the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change has urged that sustainable agriculture must be integrated into national and international policy. This was one of its recommendations for policy makers on achieving food security in the face of climate change.
Corporations have also positively contributed to the responsible fertilizer and chemical use movement. Yara International is among companies that strongly focus on sustainable agriculture and positions itself as a leader in the sphere. This fertilizer producer contributes to green growth and sustainable development by avoiding practices that can cause long-term damage to soil, including excessive tilling of the soil (leading to erosion) and irrigation without adequate drainage (leading to salinization). Long-term experiments have provided exemplary data showing how various practices affect soil properties and how sustainability can be achieved.
Another major CSR project implemented in Europe to minimize the adverse impact on human health and the environment is the International Council of Chemical Associations initiative. It’s called Global Product Strategy (GPS) and is based on 5 pillars:
Developing a base-set of hazard and exposure information to conduct safety assessments for chemicals in commerce.
Undertaking global GPS capacity building initiatives to implement the best risk assessment practices and management procedures, especially in small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and in emerging and developing countries.
Providing transparent public access to science-based product safety information and throughout the value chain.
Promoting a stakeholder dialogue on science and risk-based chemicals management, as well as developing the Long-Range Research Initiative. This is a global research program that aims to identify and fill gaps in understanding of the hazards posed by some chemicals and to improve the methods available for risk assessment.
Finally, the real strength of GPS lies in the broad commitment behind it: the strategy is promoted and implemented by more than 150 top chemical companies and more than 40 associations globally and the number of supporters is continuously growing. With each new signatory, the GPS success story gains additional momentum to shape the future image of the global chemical industry – an industry that is a trusted and reliable partner in a world where chemicals are valued and managed safely and responsibly throughout their life-cycle.
Top ten fertilizer company EuroChem produces a wide range of nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers, as well as some organic synthesis products. It is also developing two large potash deposits in Russia and is a major GPS user. The company recognised quickly that the responsible production and sound management of chemicals are a global responsibility.
EuroChem operates fertilizer production facilities in Belgium, China, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, and Russia, and first began implementing the strategy at its Lifosa subsidiary in Lithuania. The company issues GPS reports for all the mineral fertilizers and related products made at Lifosa, including DAP, a highly concentrated granulated nitrogen-phosphoric compound fertilizer, and orthophosphoric acid, mainly used in the production of mineral fertilizers. EuroChem has extended GPS reporting to all its other fertilizer production plants as part of its ongoing commitment to provide the public with reliable, science-based information on the chemicals it uses and to ensure these present no risk to people or the natural environment at any stage of production… Read More
EU Reporter, December 22, 2017