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The Phosphorus Sustainability Challenge

By Matt Scholz of the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance

Matt Scholz

Phosphorus is both a vital nutrient upon which global agriculture depends and a devastating pollutant of our planet’s freshwater resources. The Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance is committed to managing this finite resource sustainably, and we’re inspiring collective action towards better phosphorus management through the launch this April of our Phosphorus Sustainability Challenge.

Worldwide, many organizations work hard to manage our phosphorus resources sustainably. The Phosphorus Sustainability Challenge will be a place where they can gather to publicly commit to reducing their phosphorus footprint and to see how their individual efforts contribute to greater goals. These goals include using phosphorus more efficiently in crops and animal feed, diverting and removing phosphorus from our waters, and recovering and recycling phosphorus wastes—including food
wastes—back into the food system.

How will the Challenge work? Organizations will publically commit to reduce their collective phosphorus footprint. In return, they will receive public recognition for their leadership, see how their own efforts contribute to larger scale impacts, and network with like-minded organizations through sector-specific action networks. Commitments must be SMART: Specific in what they set out to achieve, Measurable on an annual basis, Ambitious in their targets, Relevant to Challenge goals, and Time-bound. Applicants will need to make new commitments or state existing commitments that have yet to be achieved or publicized, and all committments will have to go beyond what is required for regulatory compliance.

Who can participate? Any government at any jurisdictional level and any public or private institution or company of any size. The platform is being designed to allow everyone from transnational corporations to small, local groups to make meaningful contributions. We need all hands on deck.

How is it funded? The Challenge development is currently funded by the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance but we seek foundational support. Please contact us if your organization would like to support our effort to keep our waters blue and our fields green.

How will achievement be verified? Participants who obtain third-party or second-party verification for their progress will be recognized as such on the platform upon submitting proof of verification. Otherwise, there is no verification required but commitments will be in the public record. Any verified misrepresentation of prior achievement will bar applicants from further participation in the Challenge.

The Challenge will be launched at our Phosphorus Forum on April 5, 2019. Please contact us for more details.