Yara and sustainability

CEO letter 2011 - Sustainable profit: Green growth in agricultural markets

In 2011, agriculture was an emerging topic at the COP17 climate negotiations. Yara’s President and CEO, Jørgen Ole Haslestad, believes global policies will increase pressure for more sustainable and efficient farming – providing business opportunities for the company.
Jørgen Ole Haslestad
Jørgen Ole Haslestad, President and CEO

Q: How can stricter environmental policies become business opportunities for Yara? 

A: Yara is uniquely positioned with our knowledge, high-quality product portfolio and global presence. No company can match Yara’s solutions for improved productivity and green growth in the agricultural sector. 

Q: Yara’s solutions for green growth – what are they? 

A: We have expert knowledge on crop nutrition, which enables us to provide advice on how to maximize yields while minimizing environmental impact and losses. We have a full range of crop nutrients – with a low carbon footprint from production as well as from use in the field. Adding in our local market knowledge and agronomic tools, we are a complete solutions provider.

Q: How can a product portfolio drive green growth in an entire sector? 

A: Yara is engaged beyond delivery of products. We participate in partnerships and forums at the global level, where we consistently advocate solutions for green growth. By leveraging our position and knowledge, we create impact.

Q: Can you describe how you engage at the global level?

A: For example, French President Sarkozy put food security high on the agenda for the G20 Summit in 2011. Yara was part of the private sector task force which provided input. We addressed how food security can be ensured while also improving agriculture’s impact on global warming. At the global level, we also keep our commitment to the UN Global Compact initiative, implementing and living up to its principles throughout our operations. 
Q: More food with less impact on climate change – how can Yara make that happen?

A: It is a task beyond a single company, but we know that deforestation due to expansion of farmland is the main source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture. Improving farm productivity will reduce pressure on existing forests.

In Africa, our engagement in the Agricultural Growth Corridors is set to increase yield levels, improving food supply. In Tanzania we conduct research in collaboration with Syngenta and two universities, to define how modern farm practices impact on the environment, climate change and the economy.

Q: What progress do you see in the growth corridors?

A: I am not fully content – there is an urgent need to step up the pace. We do see concrete investments being made in Mozambique. And both the construction of Yara’s fertilizer terminal and on-the-ground management of the growth corridor are on track in Tanzania
President Kikwete of Tanzania displays impressive leadership on agricultural development. Through his championship the African Union’s “Grow Africa Task Force” has been established, where Yara is honored to have a co-chair position. This task force is designed to develop investment plans and engage private investors in order to achieve the goals set out in country level plans for sustainable agricultural development.

Q: Apart from the external engagements – what is the key progress of Yara as a company, in terms of sustainability?

A: We are ahead of schedule and still improving on greenhouse gas emissions. But a key point is that having zero emissions would not have any impact – unless we are also winners in the market place. Our new approach, Creating Impact, is a framework for identifying areas where Yara is positioned to create value – for shareholders, employees, stakeholders and society at large. This in turn will translate into a competitive edge for Yara – allowing us to expand our impact.

At the global level we leverage Yara’s position to drive our initiatives and establish partnerships, engaging along the value chain to improve performance. We will create sustainable profits – also through driving green growth.

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