Skip to Content
About the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance

About the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance

About the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance

The Problem

Our phosphorus demand increases as a burgeoning world population shifts its diets toward more phosphorus-intensive meat and dairy and as the energy and industrial sectors consume more biomass. However, the world’s remaining phosphate rock reserves increasingly contain contaminants and are non-renewable, finite, and concentrated in a small number of countries, posing geopolitical vulnerability. Meanwhile, intensified phosphorus use has degraded water quality in rivers, lakes, and coastal oceans as toxic algal blooms proliferate and dead zones expand. Despite these mounting challenges, only a small fraction of the phosphorus we use globally in food production comes from sustainably recycled sources.

Our Opportunity

The Alliance is a membership nonprofit that brings together public- and private-sector organizations from across the phosphorus value chain to make our phosphorus use more sustainable.

We offer a venue where these organizations can share experiences, network, and develop and implement solutions to phosphorus sustainability challenges.

brochure_graph Source: Cordell, D.; White, S. Sustainable Phosphorus Measures: Strategies and Technologies for Achieving Phosphorus Security. Agronomy 2013, 3, 86-116

Our History

The formation of the Alliance was an outcome of a multi-year, international research collaboration called the Phosphorus Sustainability Research Coordination Network (P-RCN), which was led by Dr. Elser and funded by the National Science Foundation. The Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance was officially founded by Drs. Jim Elser and Matt Scholz in October 2016 with the generous support of our Founding Partners: Consultants Allied with Brookside, FEECO International, NACWA, Ostara, The Water Research Foundation. Foundational support was provided by OCP. The motivating idea behind the Alliance’s formation was to facilitate the implementation of real-world solutions to vexing phosphorus sustainability problems that were being (and continue to be) addressed in academic research.

Since its founding, the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance has been a unit of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University. We are pleased to be associated with the US News and World Report’s #1 most innovative school. While ASU provides our infrastructure, our activities are funded by membership dues and contributions.

Our Mission

Our mission is to be North America’s central forum and advocate for the sustainable use, recovery, and recycling of phosphorus in the food system.

Our Values



Our decisions and actions are based in the best available science.



We support the implementation of technologies and practices that benefit ecosystems and not ones that facilitate their deterioration.



We seek buy-in from diverse stakeholders about best policies and practices.