Investor Relations

Environmental performance 2008

In 2008, Yara reached its ambitious greenhouse gas emission target and strengthened measures to further improve the energy efficiency of its already well-tuned production.

Yara’s production processes are relatively clean, but highly energy intensive in nature. Globally, Yara’s greatest environmental impacts come from energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, specifically carbon dioxide CO2 in ammonia production and nitrous oxide N2O in nitric acid production, Reducing energy consumption and GHG emissions are therefore our top priorities.

GHG emissions

Yara’s goal for GHG emissions was to reduce its baseline carbon footprint by 25 percent during the period from 2004 and 2009. The company achieved its objective ahead of schedule, with 2008 emissions already 30 percent below the levels measured in 2004. In 2008, Yara’s total GHG emissions amounted to 16 million tons of CO2 equivalents, down from 16.4 million tons in 2007 [1]. The 2008 results include emissions from former Kemira GrowHow, which were not included in 2007. Compared with 2004 levels, Yara’s total GHG emissions in 2008 represent a close to 19 percent reduction in emission using eco-efficiency calculations.

The improvements in GHG emissions have primarily been achieved by the installation of Yara’s N2O catalyst technology, an innovation designed to reduce N2O emissions from nitric acid plants. By the end of 2008, the technology had been installed in 12 of the company’s 25 nitric acid units. Yara is evaluating further installations.

Greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions View graph

Energy consumption

Energy consumption View graph

Energy consumption

In 2008, Yara’s total energy consumption was 200.7 PJ (Petajoules), up 4.9 percent from 191.3 PJ in 2007 [2]. The increase is due to inclusion of the former Kemira GrowHow units from 2008. When comparing the energy use to production levels, the consumption was reduced by almost 13 percent from 2007 to 2008.

Yara introduced a new and improved energy data system in 2008, impeding comparability with energy results reported in the company’s Corporate Citizenship Review 2007. To allow for year-to-year comparisons, energy consumptions for the period 2004–2007 have been recalculated according to the new energy data system. Based on eco-efficiency indicators, these calculations show a 17 percent reduction in energy consumption from 2004–2008.

The improvements in energy efficiency have been a contributing factor to Yara’s reduced GHG emissions, cutting CO2 emissions from combustion of fossil fuels. Implementation of the “Energy Hunter” concept (see page 15) was finalized at all Yara’s sites early in 2009, and the company had already realized considerable energy savings by the fourth quarter of 2008.

The “Systematic Energy Management” initiative (page 15) has been anchored as one of four global top priorities in Yara’s Upstream segment and will be implemented at all production sites in 2009.


Emissions to water contributing to eutrophication

Emissions to water contributing to eutrophication View graph

Emissions to air contributing to acidification

Emissions to air contributing to acidification View graph

Emissions to air

Since 2004, emissions to air contributing to acidification have been reduced by more than 34 percent. Such emissions include nitrogen oxide NOx, ammonia (NH3), sulfur oxide (SOx) and fluoride (F) which can contribute to mainly regional impacts. Yara’s emissions of ozone depleting substances are relatively small and amounted to 0.068 tons in 2008. Emissions of ozone depleting substances were limited to Yara’s production plants in Sluiskil, the Netherlands.

In 2008, Yara’s production plants emitted a total of 88,818 tons of dust, which can have local impacts in areas adjacent to the sites. Dust emissions are available for each plant in the unit reports.

Emissions to air contributing to acidification, 2004-2008


Substance 2004 2005
NOx 8,766 8,722
NH 2,490 2,390
SO2 5,608 4,461
F 1,881 562
Eco-efficiency (emissions/production) 100,0 83,6
Note: 2008 results include emissions from former Kemira GrowHow plants


Since 2004, emissions to water contributing to eutrophication have been reduced by more than 16 percent, principally through improvements in operational practices, investments in effluent cleaning and control, and by restructuring of production plants. Yara monitors its emissions to water carefully, to reduce risks of eutrophication effects in waterways and to ensure that they do not exceed permitted levels of ammonia, nitrogen, phosphorous and trace elements. Site-specific data for Yara’s emissions to water is available in the unit reports.

Emissions to water contributing to eutrophication. 2004-2008


Substance 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
N 2,756 2,862 2,637 2,569 2,895
P 74 46 54 50 70
Eco-efficiency (emissions/production) 100 99,9 97,1 90,7 83,6
Note: 2008 results include emissions from former Kemira GrowHow plants

Water consumption and discharges

Roughly 90 percent of Yara’s water consumption is used for cooling purposes, involving little of no risk of contamination. In Northern Europe, water is primarily drawn from surface water, i.e. lakes and rivers, where as in other regions a combination of surface water and groundwater is used. Generally, no significant negative effects are expected with regards to water-withdrawal in the areas where Yara’s sites are located. Water is discharged into river systems or the sea after use, after cleaning to permitted levels.

Except for cooling purposes, the manufacturing processes for fertilizers and their intermediate products use relatively little water, and consumption will vary with production volumes. Therefore, specific targets have not been set for water usage.

Spills and permit breaches

Yara’s production plants are subject to environmental requirements and operational permits issued by the respective countries in which they operate. Generally, Yara’s production plants operate well within permitted emission levels, and all permit breaches are reported to local authorities. Plant specific emissions and comparisons with such operational permits are available in unit reports from each plant. In 2008, one permit breach resulted in a monetary fine. The incident happened at the Peremarton plant in Hungary, where delayed reporting of waste handling led to a monetary fine. No material permit breach was registered in 2008. At some sites, where emissions have exceeded permits, improvement plans have been agreed with local authorities.

In 2008, Yara recorded no significant environmental spills, but a number of incidents caused minor emissions, primarily of nitrogen solutions, to lakes and waterways. These incidents underline the importance of continued adherence to the company’s technical and safety standards.


Material use

Yara is a major energy user, primarily by the use of natural gas to produce ammonia. Other materials used for the production of fertilizers are phosphate rock and potash (muriate of potash (MOP) and sulfate of potash (SOP), and intermediate products like monoammonium phosphate (MAP), diammonium phosphate (DAP) and single superphosphate (SSP). The most significant purchases are shown below. As part of the REACH program, Yara has preregistered all chemical substances purchased, used and produced, and will be evaluating them with respect to hazards.


Materials purchased by Yara production sites 2008


Material Volume
Phosphate rock 1,011
MOP 745
SOP 65
AS 243
MgSO4H 148
MAP 64
Phosphoric acid (as P2O5) 31
MgO 24
DAP 45
SSP 14


Yara’s manufacturing processes do not produce a significant amount of solid waste. In 2008, hazardous waste amounted to less than 12 percent of total waste volumes. All the company’s hazardous waste is handled by waste management specialists. This includes Yara’s N2O catalyst, which is reclaimed. As shown in the table below, waste volumes dropped significantly from 2005 to 2006. The reason was the closure of Yara’s South Africa plant which produced gypsum waste as a by-product.

Hazardous and non-hazardous waste, 2004-2008


Category 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Hazardous 3,14 3,01 6,477 2,078 2,879
Non-hazardous 223,367 214,185 15,472 15,596 22,108
Note: 2008 results include emissions from former Kemira GrowHow plants


Land and water resources, and hence the flora and fauna, in the immediate surroundings of Yara’s plants can be affected by the emissions of dust and acidifying gases to air, and nutrients to water. However, emission levels are regulated by authorities to avoid or limit environmental impacts, and Yara does not consider such emissions to be a material risk to the areas adjacent to the plants. Yara is not subject to any legal or regulatory requirement to protect or restore the diversity in areas adjacent to the plants.

The tailings area at Yara’s phosphate operations in Siilinjärvi, Finland, is recognized by biologists for its rich biodiversity. It serves as a sanctuary for resting and nesting migratory birds, and is home to a variety of wild animals.

Subsurface impacts and remediation

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. In the case of mining activity in Silinjärvi, a site that was acquired with Kemira GrowHow in 2007, a restoration program is defined in the permit regulated by Finnish authorities.

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