Yara and sustainability

Environmental indicator points 2011

EN1 - Materials used (imported materials only)

Yara used approximately 6.7 million tons of imported materials in 2011. This comprises dolomite, phosphate rock, potassium chloride (MOP), potassium sulfate, imported ammonia, sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid, SSP/TSP, MAP and DAP.

EN3 - Direct energy consumption by energy source

Yara’s total energy consumption in production in 2011 was 219 million GJ. This is about 2% lower than in 2010. In terms of energy consumption per ton of finished product, consumption continued to decrease from 2010 to 2011, from 14.6 to 13.8 GJ/t finished product. 

Energy consumption

Energy consumption View graph

Approximately 90% of the company's energy consumption is related to ammonia production, the following being the main energy sources:
Natural gas: 78%
Heavy residue oil: 14 %
LPG/ethane: 6%

The remaining 10% of Yara's energy consumption is related to electricity consumption and steam production from fuels, see EN4.

EN4 - Indirect energy consumption/export (import/export of electricity, steam, heat to/from the site)

In 2011, Yara used about 8 million GJ of energy as net import/export of electricity, steam and heat. Electricity consumption was divided among the following sources:

Fossil fuel: 58%
Hydropower: 28%
Nuclear: 11%
Renewables and others: 3%

EN5/EN7 - Energy savings versus previous year

The energy consumption per ton of finished product continued to decrease from 14.6 to 13.8 GJ/t from 2010 to 2011. See EN6.

EN6 - Initiatives to provide energy-efficient or renewable-energy-based products and services, and reductions in energy requirements as a result

Yara has nominated Energy Hunters at production units to define activities for reducing energy consumption. A number of projects have been initiated, some with governmental support, e.g. by the Norwegian public enterprise ENOVA in Yara Porsgrunn. Certification to the EN 16001 standard on energy management is ongoing.

EN8 - Total water withdrawal by source.

In 2011, Yara's total water withdrawal was 483 million m3, from the following sources:

•  Surface water, including water from wetlands, rivers, lakes, ocean: 63%
•  Municipal water supplies and other water utilities: 36%
•  Groundwater: 1%

EN9 - Water sources significantly affected by withdrawal of water.

No water sources are significantly affected by Yara's withdrawal of water.

EN10 – Percentage and total volume of water recycled and reused

Water recycling at Yara plants corresponded to 16% of fresh water withdrawal (77 million m3).

EN11 - Environmental risks to adjacent land.

One site is located close to a designated Natura 2000 nature protection area. Operations at this and other sites are subject to local environmental permits, and the plants are not considered to represent a risk to the local environment, except if a major accident should take place. All Yara sites are classified as industrial activities with potential major-accident hazards –in the EU so-called Seveso sites - and are required to operate in accordance with strict procedures and management controls to prevent major accidents.

EN12 – Description of significant impacts of activities, products, and services on biodiversity in protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value outside protected areas.

See EN14.

EN14 – Strategies, current actions and future plans for managing impacts on biodiversity. 

Yara's operations can impact biodiversity, both positively and negatively. If fertilizers are not applied correctly, they may negatively impact the environment, mainly through eutrophication, which in certain areas is a challenge, particularly for biodiversity in water.

The positive impact comes from the large increase of crop yields due to fertilizers. Increased yield makes it possible to supply market demand for food using less land, thus protecting forests from being cut down.
1. Eutrophication: Yara addresses this issue by sharing its knowledge with the farming community and other stakeholders, regularly giving training and advice to farmers at meetings in local markets.

Yara also invests in tools that help farmers make the right decision about fertilizer application. Yara’s tools help identify the correct type and amount of fertilizer. This includes soil analyses to identify which plant nutrients should be added to the soil to ensure optimal yields, along with the advanced N-Tester and N-Sensor decision-making tools.

To learn more about Yara's tool, please refer to Support tools.

2. Land use: Yara's products and services contribute to improved agricultural productivity, avoiding deforestation and loss of biodiversity. This is the reasoning behind Yara's agreement with the WWF and a notion confirmed in a recent study from Stanford University investigating how intensification of agriculture has affected land use and hence emissions of greenhouse gases (Burney el al, Greenhouse gas mitigation by agricultural  intensification, PNAS 2010).

The scenarios estimate that without the “Green Revolution,” land areas about the size of Russia would have been converted from forests, grassland or peat land into farmland in order to supply market demand for agricultural products. As a consequence, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture would be 4.5 times higher than today.

Land use change is still a major challenge to biodiversity today. Apart from providing plant nutrition, Yara’s contributions to reduce land use change include research initiatives on sustainable intensification of agriculture and knowledge-sharing with farmers around the world in support of increased yields.

To learn more about Yara's participation in global initiatives and partnerships targeting improved agricultural productivity, please see Economic Performance.

EN 15 - Number of IUCN Red List species and national conservation list species with habitats in areas affected by operation, by level of extinction risk.

To our present knowledge, no locations or habitats affected by Yara’s operations include species on the IUCN Red List or on national conservation lists.

EN16 - Greenhouse gas emissions.

Yara continues to reduce its carbon footprint. In 2011, Yara’s GHG emissions totaled 11.2 million tons of CO2-equivalents, 1.9 million tons down from 2010.  The shutdown of the joint venture plant in Libya due to the civil war in 2011 explains approximately 0.7 million tons of the reduction, while finalizing the implementation of N2O catalysts and better performance at the remaining plants account for the rest.

Yara reached its 2013 target for GHG emissions in 2010  well ahead of time, recording a 45% reduction between 2004 and 2010 after adjusting for plants acquired and closed within the period. The level was still further improved in 2011. Future targets are currently being reviewed as a part of the Yara sustainability strategy.

Most of Yara’s nitric acid plants are covered by the EU ETS (Emission Trading System) or by the UN Joint Implementation mechanism. Yara’s technology for reducing nitrous oxide N2O emissions has made this possible.

GHG emissions

GHG emissions view graph

EN17- Other relevant indirect greenhouse gas emissions by weight

In 2010, Yara started tracking its airlines emissions within Europe.

Domestic/International flights Flight mileage Emission factor Carbon
   2010  2011    2010 2011
Domestic 1,561,597 2,218,450 0.18 281,087 399,321
European 10,866,532 13,202,682 0.18 1,955,976 2,376,483
International 10,970,942 13,773,951 0.18 1,974,770 2,479,311

EN18 - Initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reductions achieved

Yara's largest initiative so far to reduce GHG emissions is the company's N2O catalyst technology, which removes 70 to 90% of the N2O emissions from nitric acid plants. This technology removes almost 10 million tons of CO2 equivalents from Yara's plants each year. The N2O catalyst technology is also commercially available to other companies. With Yara's and external plants combined, the catalyst technology removes approximately 30 million tons of CO2 equivalents annually.

Numerous optimizing activities are taking place at Yara plants to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions. Yara's feed phosphate plant in Kokkola, Finland, turned its CO2 emissions into product by delivering the gas to a company producing medical and technical gases.  Brunsbuttel site in Germany changed one of the steam boilers from oil to gas, reducing their CO2, SO2 and NOx emissions significantly. Investments in other ammonia plants are also contributing to improving energy efficiency along with on-stream factor.

EN19 - Emissions of ozone-depleting substances

No ozone-depleting substances are used in Yara production processes. Small amounts of approved substances are used for air-conditioning systems.

EN20 - Other emissions to air

Air emissions are measured, analyzed and registered according to national regulations. 

In 2011, the summarized acidification potential of Yara emissions decreased, totaling 16,117 tons of SO2-equivalent. A main contributor to this is the change of a boiler fuel from oil to natural gas at one plant, whereas shutdowns of ammonia plants also reduced the ammonia emissions.

See the graph below.


Emissions to air contributing to acidification

Emissions to air view graph

EN21 - Emissions to water and water discharge

Emissions to water are measured, analyzed and registered according to national regulations.

Yara’s emissions impacting eutrophication also decreased, totaling 3,864 tons of PO4-equivalent. The main reasons for this are the lower NOx and NH3 emissions to air.

See the graph below.

Emissions to water contributing to eutrophication

Emissions to water view graph

EN22 - Waste by type and disposal method.

Yara’s operations generated about 26,000 tons of non-hazardous waste and 12,000 tons of hazardous waste in 2011. Almost 50% of non-hazardous and 40% of hazardous waste is recycled. Mining gangue, concentrator sand, gypsum and iron oxide generated in the apatite processing are not included in these figures. The total amount of these stored into on-site piling areas during 2011 was approximately 14 million tons.

Waste 2011

Waste 2011 View graph

EN23 - Total number and volume of significant spills.

Yara recorded no significant spills or material permit breaches in 2011. In cases where emissions exceeded permit levels, Yara has agreed on improvement plans with local authorities.

EN25 - Identity, size, protected status and biodiversity value of water bodies and related habitats significantly affected by the reporting organization’s discharges of water and runoff.

Operations at Yara sites are subject to local environmental permits, and the plants are not considered to represent a risk to the local environment. One unit is located close to a designated Natura 2000 –nature protection area. Another unit has a small receiving water course, and is taking actions to avoid any unforeseen emissions. One site has identified nutrient leakage from an old gypsum pile. Research and actions to prevent this are ongoing.

EN26 - Initiatives to mitigate environmental impacts of products and services and extent of impact mitigation.

Yara is a key player in promoting and facilitating sustainable agriculture. As the world’s leading producer of mineral fertilizers, Yara has developed extensive agronomic knowledge that it shares with farmers. Yara has invested heavily in advisory systems to ensure accurate matching of nutrient supply and crop need to meet good agricultural practice. The concept of sustainable agriculture aims to preserve biodiversity and maintain soil fertility and water purity. It also contributes to the conservation and improvement of the soil. Yara constantly works to develop new and improved products and practices. Recent examples of those are available in the Key Environmental Initiatives part of the Impact report.   

EN27 - Products sold and their packaging materials that are reclaimed.

Collection and recycling of fertilizer bags or big bags from farmers is in place, amongst others, in France (ADIVALOR), Germany (RIGK and Noventiz, all bags Yara brings into the German market are covered by these recycling schemes) Norway (Grønt Punkt AS) and Finland (in collaboration with Finland’s 4H-organization).

Yara New Zealand is a Foundation member of Agrecovery, supporting their stewardship program by providing farmers with nationwide recycling. YaraVita plastic drums including 10L, 210L and 1000L, are currently collected for the recycling program. To be eligible for such schemes, packaging must carry the Agrecovery logo, and this requires the product manufacturer to be an approved member of the scheme.

A new innovation at Pocklington, UK in 2012 will improve Yara's recycling efficiency. The current packaging consists of three materials - a polyethylene bottle, a foil seal and a paper label - all or which have to be separated prior to recycling. The new packs will consist of 100% plastic, reducing both processing time and recycling costs. 

EN28 - Monetary value of significant fines and total number of non-monetary sanctions for non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations.  

Nine Yara sites reported incidents of short-term permit breaches to local authorities in 2011. Their root causes have been investigated and corrective actions are ongoing to ensure further conformity. No significant monetary fines or non-monetary sanctions were imposed.

EN29 - Significant environmental impacts of transporting products and other goods and materials used for the organization’s operations and transporting members of the workforce.

In 2011, there were no significant incidents posing harmful environmental impact related to transporting products or other goods and materials used in Yara’s operations. Yara has analyzed the environmental impacts of transport (energy consumption, transport-related emissions) as a part of products’ life cycle assessment. Compared to the impacts of production, these are mostly minor.

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