Saskatchewan-based Nutrien produces and distributes potash, nitrogen and phosphate products for agricultural, industrial and feed customers world-wide and operates an agriculture retail network that services grower accounts.
How big is your company and where does it operate?
At Nutrien, our purpose is to “Grow our World from the Ground Up”. As the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services, Nutrien plays a critical role in Feeding the Future by helping growers increase food production in a sustainable manner. With 23,500 employees and a global footprint of operations and investments, Nutrien’s crop inputs and services reach major growing regions all over the world. Nutrien produces and distributes approximately 27 million tonnes of potash, nitrogen and phosphate products for agricultural, industrial and feed customers globally. Combined with its leading agriculture retail network that services approximately 500,000 grower accounts worldwide, we are well positioned to create value for our stakeholders.
What does your company do related to phosphorus sustainability?
Our commitment to feeding the future means taking our role in protecting the planet seriously. By 2050, the agriculture sector will need to grow food for almost 10 billion people. At this pivotal moment in history we need to consider how we feed a growing world while providing nature-positive solutions. To this end, we aim to enable growers to adopt sustainable and productive agricultural products and practices on 75 million acres globally by 2030. Sustainable phosphorus fertilizer use play a large role in this effort and we consistently work to help our grower customers optimized the uptake efficiency of their inputs through solid agronomic advice and a commitment to strong scientific principles. We endorse the 4R nutrient framework and are key members of several industry groups to help raise awareness of improved nutrient management across the globe.
How does sustainability fit into your business model?
Sustainability is core part of Nutrien and our purpose. By the year 2030, we aim to make key transformations through ambitious commitments that drive systemic change and lead the next wave of agricultural evolution. We have developed strategic sustainability priorities that address our most material environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities. This means innovating and improving to create long-term value with global impact. For example by 2030, we aim to achieve at least a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Scope 1 and 2) per tonne of our products produced, from a baseline year of 2018. We plan to launch and scale a comprehensive Carbon Program, empowering growers and our industry to accelerate climate-smart agriculture and soil carbon sequestration while rewarding growers for their efforts. We will also invest in new technologies and pursue the transition to low-carbon fertilizers, including low-carbon and clean ammonia.
Where do you see the biggest challenges and opportunities around advancing phosphorus sustainability?
Phosphorus sustainability has several key challenges include concentrated deposits across just a few countries and transport issues. Some growers have abundant access to phosphate fertilizers and some are missed along the supply chain for one reason or another. A key challenge that can be positively resolved into a great opportunity will be increasing access of phosphorus to those who need it most while leveraging legacy phosphate and advanced application technologies to those who are looking to reduce their externalities. This will be a tricky, nuanced problem to solve but we have the capacity and desire to do so.
What’s been your biggest sustainability win?
Our biggest wins as a fertilizer manufacturer and retailer has been a strong commitment to good agronomic principles and education. When growers are equipped with key data points (e.g., soil phosphate supply, variance over space, erosion probability, etc.), management decisions can be made that promote both a favorable economic and sustainability outcome.