Investor Relations

2010 - Citizenship Report message: Contributing to sustainable food security

In 2010, Yara made important progress on its Citizenship priorities, addressing the issues of food security and climate change.
CEO message 2010

Throughout 2010, global attention was focused on agricultural development and food security. Drought, fires and flooding led to failed or weak harvests, and increases in food prices prompted memories of the food riots of 2008.

Even though grain prices were primarily driven by drought in the Former Soviet Union (FSU), the parallel increase in price levels of other agricultural commodities such as sugar, coffee and cotton indicate that there are broad challenges to the supply chain. 

For the foreseeable future, land suitable for agricultural production will continue to be scarce. Areas with the greatest potential to become cropland are largely covered by forests. Cutting down forests to grow crops is not the most sustainable option, as it causes massive emissions of greenhouse gases.

Yara's 2010 Citizenship activities focused on the global challenges of food security and climate change. These are issues where Yara’s core business and knowledge have contributed to the successful development of solutions. Our approach is to build partnerships, provide knowledge and leverage our global position.

I was pleased to take part in launching the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) “New Vision for Agriculture” in Davos in January 2011. Yara played a key role in developing this strategy, which targets three ambitious goals for the industry: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing rural poverty and increasing agricultural productivity – by 20 percent each decade.

In presenting the strategy to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, President Kikwete of Tanzania together with other key players on the global arena used the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor in Tanzania (SAGCOT) initiative as a prime example of the public-private partnership approach, which brings scale to development efforts. Yara has played a key role in developing the concept.

In addition, President Kikwete and Yara launched an Investment Blueprint at the WEF, providing a 20-year investment plan to increase agricultural productivity in the entire region in Tanzania. USD 1.3 billion of public investment, mainly for infrastructural improvements, will in turn catalyze private sector investments of USD 2.1 billion more. The net impact is a projected tripling of the agricultural output.

As a result, this will improve the food security in the surrounding region. The initiative also has mechanisms to include smallholder farmers and to create jobs. Overall, the partners in the SAGCOT aim to lift more than 2 million people out of poverty.

In the market place, Yara pursued the climate change issue, introducing the world’s first fertilizer with a carbon footprint guarantee (CO2 campaign) to the Nordic markets. Leveraging Yara’s catalyst technology, the company gained third-party endorsement of its low carbon footprint on a range of products from selected plants. This enables Swedish farmers using Yara products to brand their products with a carbon footprint guarantee. By drawing on Yara’s fertilizer application knowledge, the carbon footprint of crop production can be cut in half.

An important key performance indicator (KPI) throughout the company is safety. Yara has a strict zero-tolerance policy with regard to accidents, founded on the belief that every accident is preventable. Even though Yara statistically ranks as one of the leading among European fertilizer companies on safety management, in 2010 the company regrettably experienced three lethal accidents that caused four fatalities.

The company has stepped up its skills and training requirements for operators, engineers and leaders. Yara also continues to implement Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) in newly acquired plants and has introduced regular Toolbox meetings for shifts and teams that focus purely on safety.

In 2009, Yara set a new, ambitious target for continued reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, aiming to reduce the company’s 2004 GHG emissions level by 45 percent by 2013. Yara achieved this goal ahead of schedule, by the end of 2010.

I am confident that a leading position in environmental performance is beneficial in the short- and long-term for Yara. Future business and policies will need to adapt to a situation with limited resources, filling the gap between food demand and agricultural output.

To broaden Yara’s scope and further develop its approach to these issues, the company embarked on a sustainability strategy process in 2010. The result of the process will be incorporated directly into Yara’s future management processes and targets.

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