NOT CURRENT YEAR

Grade C-
ChemScore report card 2020

Nutrien

Arising from a merger between Potash and Agrium, Nutrien is now the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services. The company is a global player and produces and distributes potash, nitrogen, and phosphate products for agricultural, industrial and feed customers. Nutrien is the biggest producer of potash globally and operates some of the world’s largest potash mines.
Category icon
Total score
14 / 48

Grade summary

Nutrien produces two SIN List substances, but none of them are officially recognised as chemicals of high concern by the EU. The company does not have a method in place to screen and assess the sustainability of its products, nor does it have a phase-out strategy for hazardous substances. Nutrien follows several voluntary standards of good conduct, but has, nonetheless, been involved in numerous environmental violations over the last ten years, including harmful emissions into the air and environmental damage.

Opportunities for improvement

  1. Nutrien states that it considers the social impact of products, including toxicology. That wording is too weak and sporadic in our opinion. We encourage the company to implement a clear and comprehensive screening method for hazardous product ingredients and make sure to minimise the use of them.
  2. Since accidents are a common occurrence at the potash mines, the Canadian company should improve safety processes and train employees in order to reduce environmental incidents.
  3. Agrochemicals have a severe impact on biodiversity and their production is very energy intensive. Safer alternatives should therefore be developed and their environmental benefits clearly stated.

Category breakdown

Categories diagram
Category icon
Product Portfolio
9 / 18

Nutrien produces two SIN List substances, but none of them are found on the REACH Candidate List or the REACH Authorisation List. According to the company, the registration for those two substances is not used, but the official database does not mark them as inactive. The company does not produce any persistent chemicals.

Category icon
Development of Safer Chemicals
1 / 12

Nutrien does not have a structured method in place to screen and assess the sustainability of its products and, therefore, does not investigate the intrinsic hazards of ingredients. The company does not make use of the GreenScreen assessment tool, nor does it follow the principles of green chemistry or exclude substances with toxic properties from new products. The company does, however, market products with improved environmental results on its website.

Category icon
Management & Transparency
4 / 12

The Canadian company shares chemical safety information on its website but does not have a phase-out strategy for hazardous substances. Nutrien is not a member of Responsible Care but follows voluntary standards such as a Code of Conduct and a Supplier Code of Conduct.

Category icon
Lack of Controversies
0 / 6

Accidents at the mines are a common occurrence and the company has been fined nearly every year over the past decade. The highest penalty was incurred in 2014 in a settlement with the United States for harmful air emissions at eight US production plants. Though the three plants were required to spend an estimated 50 million USD on pollution reduction measures and pay a 1.3 million USD civil penalty, another fine of almost 3 million USD for environmental damage was again issued in 2015. More recent controversies include a penalty fine imposed by the US EPA in November 2018, when Nutrien agreed to pay more than 300,000 USD for improper storage and labelling of agricultural pesticides.

Download detailed information on controversies (PDF, 115 KB)
Category icon
Overall rank
17 / 35
Category icon
Total score
14 / 48
Category icon
Product Portfolio
9 / 18
Category icon
Development of Safer Chemicals
1 / 12
Category icon
Management & Transparency
4 / 12
Category icon
Lack of Controversies
0 / 6
Download report
Other years
Year Rank Total score
2023 13 / 50 17 / 48
2022 13 / 54 17 / 48
2021 19 / 50 15 / 48
2020 17 / 35 14 / 48