Impact report 2013

Environmental indicator points


EN1. Materials used by weight or volume.

Yara used approximately 7.8 million tons of imported materials in 2014. [1]

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

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

EN2. Percentage of materials used that are 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 primary energy source.

Yara's total energy consumption in production in 2014 was 258 million GJ, showing a clear improvement from previous years (275 PJ in 2013, when adjusting to scope of reporting).

Yara total energy consumption 2014 [PJ]

total energy consumption View graph

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

Yara energy use is dominated by ammonia production [PJ]

energy use View graph

Natural gas is the main fuel used in Yara. The share of natural gas of total fuel use continued to increase, and was 91% in 2014 compared to 89% the previous year.

Increase of ammonia production in natural gas based plants impacted this, as well as the recently completed 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 by primary source.

In 2014 Yara used ca. 9.5 million GJ (11.5 in 2013) of energy as net import/export of electricity, steam and heat. On the other hand, Yara exported 2.7 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: 2.7 million GJ of surplus electricity, heat and steam sold in 2014

Energy export from Yara plants View graph

EN5. Energy saved due to conservation and 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 in place in several units. Energy consumption is assessed as part of the various plants' environmental management systems and actions have been initiated to comply with the Energy Efficiency Directive of European Union. 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 of these initiatives.

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 are described under indicator EN5.

EN7. Initiatives to reduce indirect energy consumption and reductions achieved.

Yara actively encourages and helps the company's suppliers and other business partners to raise their environmental standards. Each contract refers to the Yara Code of Conduct for business partners. In addition to expecting partners 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 minimize their environmental impacts.


EN8. Total water withdrawal by source.

In 2014, Yara's total water withdrawal was 594 million m3, of which 97% was surface water, including water from wetlands, rivers, lakes and ocean. Groundwater only represented about 1.4% of Yara's water withdrawal. Water is used in Yara's production primarily for cooling purposes, and to a lesser extent, steam production. Thus, nearly all of the water withdrawn by Yara is returned 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 11% of fresh water withdrawal (73 million m3).


EN11. Location and size of land owned, leased, managed in, or adjacent to, protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value outside protected areas.

Operations at all Yara's sites are covered by local environmental permits. Yara's plants are not considered to represent a risk to the local environment, except if a major accident should occure. 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 2,000 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 site in Pilbara, Australia is monitoring aboriginal rock art in the neighbouring area for any environmental impacts. None of these are 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 made recently, for example, in Siilinjärvi, Finland for the enlargement of the apatite mine area, as well as at 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 impact on biodiversity is not related directly toYara's operations, but rather to the use of Yara's main product, namely mineral fertilizers. If fertilizers are not applied correctly, they may have an adverse effect on the environment, mainly through eutrophication, which is a challenge in certain areas, particularly for biodiversity in water.

The positive impact relates to the large increase of crop yields due to fertilizers. Increased yields make it possible to supply market demand for food using less land, thus protecting forests from deforestation.

1. Eutrophication: Yara addresses this issue by sharing its knowledge with the farming community and other stakeholders, regularly providing training and advice to farmers at local meetings.

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 achieve 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 why Yara engages with the WWF. This topic also formed the basis for a study by 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 have been 4.5 times higher than they are today.

Land use change is still a major challenge to biodiversity today. Apart from providing plant nutrition, Yara's contributions to reducing land use change include research initiatives on sustainable intensification of agriculture and knowledge-sharing with farmers worldwide to support 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 operations, by level of extinction risk.

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

Emissions, Effluents, and Waste

EN16. Total direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by weight.

Yara continues to reduce its carbon footprint. In 2014 Yara's GHG emissions totaled 11.6 million tons of CO 2 -equivalents, below the previous year's level (12.6 million tons of CO 2 -eqv in 2013, figures are given including 50% of Lifeco emissions).

This result was achieved thanks to the good performance of the N2O catalysts installed at the nitric acid plants and improved energy efficiency. Yara has maintained the targeted level of 45% reduction compared with the base year 2004, after adjusting for acquired plants and discontinued operations. Yara achieved a reduction of 51 % of all GHG emissions in 10 years.

The 5-year target to reduce the GHG emissions from Yara's European ammonia and nitric acid plants by 13% compared to 2010 was also achieved. The respective emissions were 20% below the 2010 level, and a reduction of 1.8 million tons of CO2 eqv was achieved in 2014. This is due to the efficient abatement of N2O as well as the increased use of natural gas in the ammonia production. 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 11.6 million tons CO2 eqv

GHG emissions from Yara View graph

EN17. Other relevant indirect greenhouse gas emissions by weight.

The most significant indirect greenhouse gas emissions resulting from Yara's operations are emissions generated in the production of ammonia and other nitrogen-based raw materials purchased by Yara to fill the gap between own production and raw material needed. The greenhouse gas emissions generated in the production of purchased ammonia have been estimated to be approximately 3.7 million tons of CO2-equivalents, compared to the total of 8.5 million tons in Yara's own production.

Amounts related to transportation 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 installation of N2O catalyst technology at its nitric acid plants. The catalysts remove 70 to 90 percent of the N2O emissions, abating about 12 million tons of CO2 equivalents from Yara's plants each year. Yara's N2O catalyst technology is also commercially available to third parties. Catalysts have been installed at close to 60 plants have so far. Together, catalysts installed at Yara's own plants and third party plants, 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. The conversion project in Brunsbüttel, Germany allows the use of natural gas instead of heavy oil feed in ammonia production, thus reducing CO2, SO2 and NOx emissions significantly. Investments in other ammonia plants are also contributing to improving energy efficiency. Yara has turned CO2 emissions into products 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, turns its CO2 emissions into products by delivering the gas to a company producing medical and technical gases.

EN19. Emissions of ozone-depleting substances by weight.

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. NOx, SOx, and other significant air emissions by type and weight.

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 tons of SO2-equivalent, by using the following generic acidification potential factors:

SO2 to air: 1

NOx to air: 0.7

NH3 to air: 1.88

F to air: 1.689

In 2014 the summarized acidification potential of Yara emissions continued to decrease, totaling 13,600 tons of SO2-equivalent (compared to 14,300 tons in 2013). Increasing the use of natural gas as boiler fuel reduced the share of SOx. The emission of NOx also reduced.

The 5-year target to reduce acidifying emissions by 17% compared to the level of 2010 was achieved, with the above 5,000 ton reduction representing a 28% improvement. In addition to optimal plant performance, investments in installation and revamping of DeNOx units have been key contributor to the success.

Emissions to air contributing to acidification 2014: 13 600 tons of SO2 equivalent (slide)

Approximately 4,400 tons of dust was emitted from Yara plants, which manufactured, packed and handled solid fertilizers in 2014. The dust is either plant nutrients, raw material inerts, or salts.

A small amount (a total of 2 tons) of VOCs were emitted from one unit, primary source being the ammonia plant.

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

Emissions to air contributing to acidification 2014: 13,600 tons of SO2 equivalent

Emissions to air contributing to acidification View graph

EN21. Total water discharge by quality and destination.

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 tons 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 increased slightly, totaling 3 560 tons of PO4-equivalent compared to 3 427 tons in 2013. Despite lower NH3 and NOx emissions to air, the N and P discharges to water were slightly higher than previous year. This also slightly increased relative emission per ton of finished product.

Emissions to water contributing to eutrophication: Total 3 560 tons of PO4-equivalents - graph (Slide)

The total volume of water discharge was 762 million m3in 2014. A large part of this is returned unpolluted cooling water. 86% of the water volume is discharged into the sea, 4% into rivers and 10% into lake.

Emissions contributing to euthrophication

Emissions contributing to euthrophication view graph

EN22. Total weight of waste by type and disposal method.

Yara's operations generated about 46 000 tons of non-hazardous waste and 6 000 tons of hazardous waste in 2014. The majority (78%) of all the waste was recycled.

Amount of generated waste (tons), without mining related wastes and gypsum

Amount of generated waste (tons), without mining related wastes 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 2014 was approximately 24 million tons. An End Of Waste decision by the environmental authorities in 2012 has made it possible to sell all iron oxide generated in the sulfuric acid production, and a significant amount of old piled iron oxide has been sold 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 tons)

Apatite mining related wastes View graph


EN23. Total number and volume of significant spills.

The repaired bund wall at the Yara Uusikaupunki site in Finland continued to be followed up. The estimated amount of phosphorus leakage to sea from the old closed gypsum pile was 10 kg P/d. The situation is being monitored to see if further actions are needed.

A soil contamination due to glycol spill required the soil to be taken off site and reclaimed at Yara Belle Plaine, Canada.

The repaired bund wall at the Yara Uusikaupunki site in Finland continued to be followed up. The estimated amount of phosphorus leakage to sea from the old closed gypsum pile was 10 kg P/d. The situation is being monitored to see if further actions are needed.

A soil contamination due to glycol spill required the soil to be taken off site and reclaimed at Yara Belle Plaine, Canada.

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 Pilbara, Australia, exported catalyst wastes containing precious metals for recovery. Yara Uusikaupunki in Finland imported ca 350 tons of zinc liquid for recovery from Sweden.

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.

Products and Services

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. Within the Cool Farm Alliance Yara contributes to developing tools for farmers to calculate their farm-gate environmental impacts. 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.

- 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 impacts, 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 more than 80 percent are achieved and overall fuel efficiency improves by about five percent compared with competing technologies. In addition, vehicles that use less fuel emit less CO2. Yara is selling the Air1 product on all five continents.

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, among 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 founding 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 eligible for such schemes are marked with scheme's logo. The logo is only printed on packaging that originates from manufacturers that are approved members of this scheme.

An innovation related to packaging materials at Pocklington, UK, has improved 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 packaging 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. In cases where quality deterioration of the product occures during customer's storage and handling (e.g. if the fertilizer gets wet and lumpy when inappropriately stored), Yara provides 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 2014. Their root causes have been investigated and corrective measures 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. The Yara site in Porsgrunn, Norway, accepted fines of 2 MNOK and 1 MNOK for oil and dust emissions in 2012.


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 2014, there were no significant incidents causing harmful environmental impacts 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.


EN30. Total environmental protection expenditures and investments by type.

Small amounts of hazardous wastes were transported to and from a few Yara plants for recovery and recycling in other countries. Yara Pilbara, Australia, exported catalyst wastes containing precious metals for recovery. Yara Uusikaupunki in Finland imported ca 350 tons of zinc liquid for recovery from Sweden.


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


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

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