With its unique global presence, Yara is well positioned to influence key global issues. The company has adopted a corporate citizenship approach based on the role it plays – and can play – in society, contributing to major global challenges as energy supply, climate change, food security, and health concerns through its core business and corporate competence.
For Yara, corporate citizenship is an integral part of its overall strategic direction and a driver for pursuing business opportunities.
The Board of Directors emphasizes Yara’s significant contributions towards an African Green Revolution and the business initiatives launched to promote improved productivity in African agriculture in 2008. Yara has gained an international position in global food supply issues, participating in several major high-level events connected to the food crisis in 2008, including at the United Nations.
It is also noteworthy, that Yara – through its unique catalyst technology and industrial solutions – contributes to reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and other harmful gases. This area offers considerable business opportunities, as the market for environmental solutions grew in 2008 and is expected to continue doing so in the future, driven by more stringent political measures to curb global warming.
Yara participates in the UN Global Compact initiative and the implementation of its ten principles throughout the organization.
For further details on Corporate Citizenship, the Board refers to the separate Citizenship Review for 2008, which is guided by the Global Reporting Initiative G3 guidelines.
Health, environment and safety
A strong track record places Yara among the industry leaders with respect to health, environmental and safety performance. Yara believes every accident is preventable. This is the basis for a focused safety program within the company. Similarly, environmental challenges, particularly those relating to climate gas emissions, are a key element of Yara’s activities in the field of health, environment and safety.
In 2008, Yara achieved an LTI rate (lost-time injuries per million hours worked) of 1.2 for employees and contractors combined , down from 1.4 in 2007. In comparison, the average LTI rate for other fertilizer producers in Europe was four times higher.
The TRI rate (total recordable injuries per million hours worked) for Yara was at 3.5, up from 2.9 in 2007. The TRI rate includes lost-time injuries, restricted work cases where the person was allowed to carry out other task than the normal duties, and medical treatment cases. Absence due to sickness at Yara’s production plants was 3.8 percent in 2008, up from 3.7 percent in 2007. The 2008 results include for the first time the performance of former Kemira GrowHow.
Striving to reach its zero accident target, Yara continued the implementation of its BBS (behavior-based safety) program in 2008. This will be further rolled out in 2009/10 in the recently acquired Kemira GrowHow and Saskferco plants. Also, a new safety campaign called Think Ahead was developed and prepared for launch in 2009.
Yara did not experience any fatal accidents in 2008. However, several accidents did occur, emphasizing the need for strong management commitment and employee involvement in preventive actions. The most serious accident in 2008 occurred in Yara Porsgrunn in December, when a buffer tank with fertilizer solution exploded. Four people were treated for minor injuries from glass splinters. The plant was out of operation for over a month and the repairs cost approximately NOK 60 million.
Goals for the coming year
On climate change, Yara’s goal is to reduce its carbon footprint by 25 percent from 2004 to 2009, in terms of total greenhouse gas emissions from the production sites that belonged to Yara in 2004. This target was already achieved in 2008: the emissions in 2008 were 30 percent below 2004 levels. This has been achieved with the installation of Yara’s technology for reducing nitrous oxide N2O from nitric acid plants.
At year-end, the technology was installed in 12 of Yara’s nitric acid plants. In 2008, Yara had direct emissions of 13 million tons of CO2 equivalents, down from 16.4 in 2007, excluding the Kemira GrowHow and Saskferco plants. With all plants included, emissions in 2008 were approximately 17 million tons CO2 equivalents. Yara’s total energy consumption increased by 4.9 percent from 2007 to 2008; energy efficiency was improved by 13 percent based on eco-efficiency calculations.
While Yara’s production emits greenhouse gases, the overall impact of the production and use of mineral fertilizer on the environment is a positive contribution by the fixing of CO2 in biomass and land preservation.
Yara’s operations are subject to many environmental requirements under the laws and regulations of the various jurisdictions in which Yara conducts its business. Such laws and regulations govern, among other matters, air emissions, wastewater discharges, solid and hazardous waste management, transportation of hazardous materials and remediation of past activities. In 2008, no material legal claim was made against Yara in respect of health, environmental or safety matters or in relation to operational permits.
Yara has a number of facilities that have been operated for a period of years. Subsurface impact to soil and groundwater and other conditions are common to such sites and may require remediation or give rise to liabilities under the laws of the various jurisdictions in which the facilities are located. Yara has attempted to identify such impacts where they are apparent and has initiated remediation or containment procedures in coordination with the appropriate authorities.
At the end of 2008, Yara had 7,971 employees, a net reduction of 202 employees from 2007, despite the company’s continued global growth. The reduction mainly reflects synergies realized through the acquisition of Kemira GrowHow. The main addition to Yara’s global workforce came in Canada, through the acquisition of Saskferco, with 160 new employees.
The increased diversity of Yara’s workforce, with no dominant company location and the Norwegian contingent only accounting for approximately ten percent, puts equal opportunities high on the agenda throughout the company. To create career opportunities for many talents within the organization, the company offers international assignments to a number of specialists and leaders. At the end of 2008, 113 of Yara’s employees, drawn from 20 countries, were stationed on international assignment contracts at 31 different host locations around the world.
2008 also saw the first class of graduates from Yara’s Leadership Assessment and Development Program (LEAD), which was first launched in 2006 and has provided great insight in Yara’s global talent pool. Of the first 40 graduates, 23 percent were women, 20 different nationalities were represented, and two thirds were working outside their home country. Another initiative, Yara Essentials, was launched in 2008 as a tool to support networking and knowledge transfer between leaders and specialist within the global organization. Yara’s induction and training program, The Yara World, also proved its success in 2008. Development will continue in 2009, along with the strengthening of the company’s e-learning services for employees.
Yara’s industry has traditionally been male-dominated. At the end of 2008, 81 percent of the global workforce were men and 19 percent women, with a similar distribution at the managerial grade level, 80 percent being men; 20 percent women. Among senior leaders, the percentage of women is lower, constituting eight percent of the company’s top 138 global positions. Yara’s ambition is to increase the proportion of women in management positions and focus on gender diversity in key human resource processes like recruitment, talent management, employee development and succession planning. In addition, the company supports and develops female leaders through internal and external networking, coaching and mentoring.