Moscow – The PhosAgro Board of Directors Committee on Sustainable Development has held its first meeting, which was chaired by Irina Bokova. Prior to joining PhosAgro, Ms Bokova was the first woman ever to serve as Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a post she held for eight years.
The meeting heard a report by the working group on sustainable development, which conducted an analysis of the compliance of the Company’s strategy and operations with both the UN Sustainable Development Agenda and the provisions of the UN Global Compact, the largest international initiative for business in the field of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development, which the Company joined in January.
During the meeting, participants analysed the Company’s contribution to the achievement of 10 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), key drivers for ensuring environmental responsibility and preserving the planet for future generations.
As a manufacturer of environmentally friendly fertilizers that do not contain toxic substances, PhosAgro is making an important contribution to ensuring food safety for consumers and thus helping ensure human health and well-being (SDG No. 3), while also supporting responsible production and consumption (SDG No. 12).
PhosAgro supplies essential crop nutrients in more than 100 countries all around the world – in addition to the Company’s priority Russian market. In doing so, PhosAgro is helping ensure global food security while also mounting a challenge to the problem of hunger (SDG No. 2). At the same time, our environmentally friendly fertilizers do not harm the soil, which is especially important in view of the acute problem of soil degradation as a key obstacle to eliminating hunger – 52% of agricultural land suffers from moderate or severe degradation. Moreover, PhosAgro became the first Russian company selected by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization to implement a global soil protection initiative.
The Company’s enterprises operate a zero-discharge production system, which means zero pollution of water resources (SDG No. 6); the system is aimed at maximising the use of by-products and the recycling of secondary raw materials (SDG No. 12). As a result of ongoing investments in R&D, expanding production using the best available technologies and increasing production efficiency (RUB 180 billion over the past five years, with annual investments of RUB 2.5 billion in the development of education, medicine, sports, youth and social policies in the regions where the Company operates), PhosAgro is creating decent working conditions and contributing to economic growth (SDG No. 8), sustainable urban development (SDG No. 11) and the availability of quality education (SDG No. 4).
PhosAgro initiated and is implementing, along with UNESCO and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the Green Chemistry for Life grant programme for young scientists in the field of chemistry, which encourages innovation (SDG No. 9) and is contributing to building partnerships for sustainable development (SDG No. 17).
Based on the analysis conducted, conclusions were drawn about the need to prioritise efforts in certain areas in order to make further progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and improving PhosAgro’s performance in this regard.
Another important issue raised at the meeting was the development of a plan to further inculcate a culture of sustainable development among the Company’s employees.
“As a global leader in the mineral fertilizer industry and a guarantor of food security throughout the world, PhosAgro is aware of its global responsibility and is making a real contribution to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda.
“This responsibility is reflected in the Company’s daily operations throughout the entire production process: all production facilities meet current environmental requirements. And the Company invests heavily in support for social projects: the development of sport, education, healthcare and even diversification of the economy in one-industry towns.
“The unique purity of the phosphate ore mined in the Khibiny Massif, in Russia’s Arctic region, enables PhosAgro to set a very high corporate standard in terms of fertilizer purity, which easily meets all international requirements for set by the European Union and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. The environmental friendliness of PhosAgro fertilizers is the key to the safety of the food products they help grow in more than 100 countries around the world.
“The Company does not plan to rest on its laurels, however. PhosAgro has ambitions, potential and opportunities to make further progress in terms of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria. The committee’s activities will allow the Company to conduct more in-depth work in these areas, to monitor the Company’s performance and to identify areas where the Company can take new steps forward”, said Ms Bokova in summarising the meeting.
PhosAgro will present the main aspects of its Sustainable Development Strategy, which is an essential part of the Company’s Development Strategy to 2025, at Investor Day in London on 25 September.