Impact report 2013

Environmental indicator points

EN1 - Materials used (imported materials only)

Yara used approximately 7.7 million tonnes of imported materials in 2013. [1]

Main products are key fertilizer raw materials like ammonia, phosphate rock, potassium salts and dolomite, which represent the majority of the purchased volume.

EN2 - Recycled input materials

Mineral fertilizers are made from naturally occurring raw materials. The principal raw materials for fertilizer production are:

  • Air to provide nitrogen
  • Natural gas and oil to provide hydrogen and energy (for production of ammonia)
  • Rock phosphate (natural minerals, extracted from mined rock)
  • Potassium salts (natural minerals, extracted from mined rock)
  • Sulfur (for production of sulfuric acid used in the production of most phosphate fertilizers (mainly from desulfurization/cleaning of oil and gas))

Yara does not use recycled materials as sources for nitrogen, potash or phosphate. Small amounts of recycled materials are used as micronutrient salts.

EN3 - Direct energy consumption by energy source

Yara’s total energy consumption in production in 2013 was 262 million GJ, showing only a slight increase despite high production volumes. [2]

Yara total energy consumption 2013 [PJ]

Yara total energy consumption 2013 [PJ] View graph

Almost 90% of the energy consumption is consumed in ammonia production.

Yara energy use is dominated by ammonia production [PJ]

Yara energy use is dominated by ammonia production [PJ] View graph

Natural gas is the main fuel used in Yara. The share of natural gas continued to increase, and was 89% in 2013 compared to 86% the previous year. Increase of ammonia production in natural gas based plants impacted this, as well as the investment to convert Yara's largest European ammonia plant in Brunsbüttel, Germany, to use natural gas as feedstock.

Fuel sources in Yara

Fuel sources in Yara View graph

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

In 2013, Yara used ca. 11.5 million GJ of energy as net import/export of electricity, steam and heat. On the other hand, Yara exported 2.5 million GJ of surplus heat, steam and electricity from its plants.

Most of the Yara sites buy their electricity from the national grid. The main sources of primary fuels used to produce the electricity are thus fossil fuels, hydropower and nuclear energy representing approximately 80% of the total use.


Energy export from Yara plants: 2.5 million GJ of surplus electricity, heat and steam sold in 2013

Energy export from Yara plants View graph

EN5 - Energy saved due to conservation and energy efficiency improvements

Investments in ammonia plants are ongoing, including contributions to improve energy efficiency. Yara's largest European ammonia plant in Brunsbüttel, Germany, has been converted to use natural gas as feedstock in addition to oil.

Certification to the ISO 50001 standard on energy management is ongoing. Energy consumption is assessed as a part of plants' environmental management systems. 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.

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

Yara's products are fertilizers and chemicals which are fully consumed in final use. Energy consumption in the use phase of products is not a relevant topic.

Initiatives to improve energy efficiency in Yara's own production is described under indicator EN5.

EN7 - Initiatives to produce energy-efficient or renewable energy based products

Yara is actively encouraging and helping the company's suppliers and other business partners to raise their standards to protect the environment. As a part of each contract, a reference is made to the Yara Code of Conduct for business partners. In addition to expecting them to operate in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations addressing environmental protection, they are encouraged to develop and use environmentally friendly technologies, products and services. Yara is promoting the implementation of Product Stewardship programs within the fertilizer sector, thus encouraging raw material suppliers to continuously improve their environmental impacts.

EN8 - Total water withdrawal by source

In 2013, Yara's total water withdrawal was 553 million m3, of which 97% was surface waters, including water from wetlands, rivers, lakes and ocean. Groundwater represented only about 1.5% of Yara’s water withdrawal. Water is used in Yara’s production primarily for cooling purposes, and to a lesser extent, steam production. Thus most of the water withdrawn is returned back to the water course unpolluted.

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 14% of fresh water withdrawal (80 million m3).

EN11 - Environmental risks to adjacent land

Operations at all Yara's sites are controlled with 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 EU so-called Seveso sites - and are required to operate in accordance with strict procedures and management controls to prevent major process safety related 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

Yara sites in Ambès and Montoir, France, are located close to a designated Natura 2000 nature protection area. Yara sites in Ravenna and Ferrara, Italy, are located close to the Parco Regionale Delta del Po, which covers the southern part of the large Po Delta. This territory has rich fauna, including a great number of birds that find their ideal habitat there. This is also one of the most interesting areas in Emilia Romagna for cultural heritage. Yara's sites are not considered to represent a risk to biodiversity or to nature's condition in the protected areas.

EN13 – Habitats protected or restored

Yara prepares an environmental impact assessment for any new major operation or extension. As a part of this, potential damage to natural habitats or biodiversity is evaluated, and prevention, management and remediation measures are considered. Such assessments have been recently made, for example, in Siilinjärvi, Finland for the enlargement of the apatite mine area, as well as other sites where start-up of mining activities is under consideration.

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

The most substantial effects are not the direct effects of Yara's operations, but from the use of Yara's main product, mineral fertilizers. If the 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 tools, 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 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.

EN15 - Number of IUCN Red List species and national conservation list species with habitats in areas affected by operation, by level of extinction risk

The flying squirrel (Pteromys volans) has a vital population in the Siilinjärvi area in Finland and has living areas also on the periphery of the Yara site in Siilinjärvi. Also an orchid plant (Listera ovata) grows on the same site area. Related area and biodiversity risks have been mapped out during the Environmental Impact Assessment of the Siilinjärvi site veinstone landfill area in 2013.

EN16 - Greenhouse gas emissions

Yara continues to reduce its carbon footprint. In 2013 Yara’s GHG emissions totaled 9.8 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents. The trend was again below the the previous year (11.4 million tonnes of CO2-eqv in 2012, figures are given excluding the Lifeco plant in Libya).

This result is achieved by the good performance of the N2O catalysts implemented at the nitric acid plants and improved energy efficiency. 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.

Further improvement has been achieved in 2011-2013, currently reaching the outstanding reduction of 59% in less than 10 years. The next 5-year target has been set to reduce the GHG emissions from Yara's European ammonia and nitric acid plants by a further 13% compared to 2010. 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 emissions has made this possible.

GHG emissions from Yara production 9,8 million tonnes CO2 eqv

GHG emissions from Yara View graph

EN17- Other relevant indirect greenhouse gas emissions by weight

The biggest indirect greenhouse gas emissions resulting from Yara's operations are emissions from the production of ammonia and other nitrogen-based raw materials purchased by Yara to fill the gap between own production and raw material need. The greenhouse gas emissions generated in the production of purchased ammonia have been estimated to be approximately 3.3 million tonnes of CO2-equivalents, compared to the total of 9.8 million tonnes in Yara’s own production.

Amounts related to transport of products or raw materials and other organization activities (e.g. business travel, employee commuting, offices) are minor. According to IFA (The International Fertilizer Manufacturers' Association), fertilizer distribution represents only about 3% of total emissions associated with the fertilizer life cycle.

Climate impact and mitigation potential of plant nutrition is explained in Yara’s Carbon Footprint brochure (PDF,1.1MB)

EN18 - Initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reductions achieved

Yara's largest initiative to reduce GHG emissions thus far is the company's N2O catalyst technology, which removes 70 to 90 percent of the N2O emissions from nitric acid plants.

This technology removes about 12 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents from Yara's plants each year.

The N2O catalyst technology is also commercially available to other companies. Close to 60 plants have installed the catalyst so far. With Yara's and external plants combined, the catalyst technology removes approximately 30 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents annually.

Numerous optimizing activities are taking place at Yara plants to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions. A conversion project in Brunsbüttel, Germany has enabled use of natural gas instead of heavy oil feed in ammonia production, thus reducing their CO2, SO2 and NOx emissions significantly.

Investments in other ammonia plants are also contributing to improving energy efficiency. Yara has turned CO2 emissions into product in several plants, selling CO2 for various uses. The Sluiskil plant in the Netherlands sells CO2 to greenhouses. Yara's feed phosphate plant in Kokkola, Finland, turned its CO2emissions into product by delivering the gas to a company producing medical and technical gases.

EN19 - Emissions of ozone-depleting substances

No ozone-depleting substances are used in Yara production processes. At three sites minor amounts of approved substances are used in closed air-conditioning systems.

EN20 - Other emissions to air

Air emissions are measured, analyzed and registered according to national regulations. Yara uses the principles given in the Operational guidelines for the  ISO 14040 Life Cycle Assessment standards when assessing the potential impact of emissions into the environment. Thus the air emission data is combined to characterize acidifying releases to the air, given in tonnes of SO2-equivalent, by using the following generic acidification potential factors:

SO 2 to air: 1
NOx to air: 0.7
NH 3 to air: 1.88
F to air: 1.689

In 2013 the summarized acidification potential of Yara emissions continued to decrease slightly, totaling 13 500 tonnes of SO 2-equivalent. Increasing the use of natural gas as boiler fuel reduced the share of SOx.

A further 5-year target is set to reduce acidifying emissions with 17% compared to the level of 2010 [3]. In addition to optimal plant performance, investments to achieve this will be needed in installation and revamping of DeNOx units.


Emissions to air contributing to acidification 2013: 13 500 tonnes of SO2 equivalent - fuel change in Brunsbüttel the major contributor to improvement

Emissions to air contributing to acidification View graph

Approximately 4 600 tonnes of dust was emitted from Yara plants manufacturing, packaging and handling solid fertilizers in 2013. The dust is either plant nutrients, raw material inerts, or salts.

A small amount (a total of 2 tonnes) of VOCs were emitted from two units, primary source being the ammonia plants

Yara’s plants do not emit persistent organic pollutants to the air.

EN21 - Emissions to water and water discharge

Emissions to water are measured, analyzed and registered according to national regulations. Yara uses the principles given in the Operational guidelines for the ISO 14040 Life Cycle Assessment standards when assessing the potential impact of emissions into the environment. The main impact into water caused by nitrogen and phosphorus emissions is eutrophication. Thus the water and air emission data is combined to characterize their eutrophication potential, given in tonnes of PO4-equivalent by using the following factors:

N to water: 0.42
P to water: 3.06
NOx to air: 0.13
NH3 to air: 0.35

Yara’s emissions impacting eutrophication also continued to decrease slightly, totaling 3 272 tonnes of PO4-equivalent compared to 3 848 tonnes in 2012. The improvement was primarily due to lower NOx emissions and N discharge to water. Relative emission per ton of finished product also improved.

Emissions to water contributing to eutrophication: Total 3 272 tonnes of PO4-equivalents

Emissions contributing to euthrophication view graph

The total volume of water discharge was 800million m3 in 2013. A big part of that is returned unpolluted cooling water. Receiving water course for 86% of the volume is the sea, 4% for a river and 10% for a lake.

EN22 - Waste by type and disposal method

Yara’s operations generated about 37 000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste and 4 900 tonnes of hazardous waste in 2013. The majority (75%) of all the waste was recycled.

Waste by disposal method, without apatite mining related waste and gypsum (tonnes)

Waste by disposal method, without apatite mining related waste and gypsum View graph

Mining gangue, concentrator sand and gypsum generated in the apatite processing in the Siilinjärvi site in Finland are not included in the above figures. The total amount of these stored into the on-site piling areas during 2013 was approximately 23 million tonnes. An End Of Waste decision by the environmental authorities in 2012 made it possible to sell all iron oxide generated there in sulfuric acid production, and a significant amount of old piled iron oxide, as raw material to iron and steel production.

Apatite mining related wastes, gypsum (from phosphoric acid production) and recycling of iron oxide from sulfuric acid production (million tonnes)

Apatite mining related wastes View graph


EN23 - Total number and volume of significant spills

Repair of the bund wall at the Yara Uusikaupunki site in Finland was completed to prevent phosphorus leakage to sea from the old closed gypsum pile. The estimated amount of leakage was 10 kg P/d. Currently the situation is being monitored to see if the actions taken are satisfactory.

Four other sites had small spills which were reported to environmental authorities and improvement plans were agreed.  
EN24  - Weight of transported, imported, exported, or treated waste deemed hazardous under the terms of the Basel Convention Annex I, II, III, and VIII, and percentage of transported waste shipped internationally

Small amounts of hazardous wastes were transported to and from a few Yara plants for recovery and recycling in other countries. Yara Uusikaupunki in Finland imported ca 400 tonnes of zinc liquid for recovery from Sweden. Yara Tertre, Belgium, exported 500 kilograms of precious metal catalyst waste for recovery.

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 controlled with local environmental permits, and the plants are not considered to represent a risk to the local environment.

A Yara plant in Rostock, Germany, discharges its waste water to a small river, the Mühlbach. Actions are ongoing with the local authorities to clarify the water status of the river by detailed data sampling, and to protect and enhance the water quality with the aim of achieving good status. As a first step, Yara Rostock contributes to this by increasing the basin capacity for rainwater prior to biological treatment to reduce nitrogen emissions to the river.  
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 at preserving biodiversity and maintaining 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 at the Key Environmental Initiatives part of the Impact report.

- An array of fertilizing management tools such as the N-Sensor™ and the N-Tester™, as well as software applications such as the Internet-based Megalab™, assist farmers in keeping profitability up and environmental impact down. Optimizing N efficiency not only reduces climate and other environmental impact, it is also a key factor in maintaining and even increasing farm productivity and profitability. A field study conducted in Germany demonstrated that using the N-Sensor increased yields by 6% while reducing N fertilizer use by 12%. This increase in N efficiency reduces the carbon footprint by 10-30%.

- Expert advice on a wide range of crop-specific nutrients, alongside a comprehensive range of fertilizers to match the advice, helps improve the efficiency of land use, fertilizer use and farm profitability. For more information, see Crop Nutrition.

- Yara is the world's largest producer of AdBlue, known as Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) in North America or ARLA32 in Brazil - a urea based product needed to turn NOx from diesel-powered vehicles into harmless water vapor and nitrogen.

Yara's high purity urea solution is commercialized under the Air1 brand. NOx reductions of over 80 percent are achieved and overall fuel efficiency improves by about five percent compared to competing technologies. On top of that, vehicles that use less fuel emit less CO2. Yara is selling the Air1 product on all five continents.

- Yara is sponsoring The Sahara Forest Project, and together with partners a pilot plant in Qatar was opened in 2012 to demonstrate the potential of green technology using seawater and solar energy in the areas of horticulture, freshwater generation, energy production and algae production.

By combining different existing technologies into one integrated system The Sahara Forest Project utilizes sunlight, desert and seawater to produce food, water and energy.

The pilot project consists of seawater-based greenhouses, concentrated solar power (CSP) for heat & electricity, evaporative hedges and ponds for reducing brine to dry salts, algae cultivation facilities, vegetative outdoor areas and halophyte cultivation units.

This pilot scale environmental project is expected to pave the way for future larger scale research and a commercial platform.

EN27. Percentage of products sold and their packaging materials that are reclaimed by category

Yara's product packaging is reclaimed based on availability of local programs.

Collection and recycling of fertilizer bags or big bags from farmers is in place in, among others, 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. Currently YaraVita plastic drums, including 10L, 210L and 1000L sizes, are collected for the recycling program. Packaging eligibility for such schemes is denoted by the pack carrying the scheme's logo, and this requires that the product manufacturer is an approved member of the scheme.

A new innovation at Pocklington, UK is improving Yara's recycling efficiency. The old packaging consisted of three materials - a polyethylene bottle, a foil seal and a paper label - all or which had to be separated prior to recycling. The new packs consist of 100 percent plastic - bottles, seals and labels - reducing both processing time and recycling costs.

Yara products are fertilizers and chemicals which are fully consumed during final use. Disposal or reuse of the products is not applicable. For cases of possible quality deterioration of the product during customer's storage and handling (e.g. if the fertilizer gets wet and lumpy if wrongly stored), Yara gives guidance and support to customers on how to treat the product.

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 2013. Their root causes have been investigated and corrective actions are ongoing to ensure further conformity.In Yara Montoir, France, a 5-year action plan is ongoing to reach compliance with water discharge regulations and revised fertilizer storage regulations. Yara's site in Sluiskil, Holland, received a fine due to delayed reporting of accidental emissions to authorities, and Yara's site in Porsgrunn, Norway, foremitting phosphate dust in 2012. Yara has disputed the size of the Porsgrunn fine, and the case is still open.

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 2013 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 minor.


[1] Yara uses SI units in reporting. Tonnes refers to metric tons.


[2] Lifeco figures have been removed from the reference years


[3] Reference year changed from 2011 to 2010 in 2013.

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