Nutrien has shown progress in its overall performance since 2020 and now lands a C grade in ChemScore 2023. The company produces two SIN List substances but no persistent chemicals. However it does not disclose its global portfolio of hazardous substances. In fact, only 55 per cent of its chemical production is known, the rest takes place in regions where chemical reporting is not mandatory.
There is room for improvement regarding clear phase-out plans and a stronger commitment to circular practices. The company claims to monitor all use of hazardous substances, which is not an indication that they are excluded from newly developed or existing products. In 2022, the company started an ambitious circular journey, exploring sustainable use, recovery, and recycling of phosphorus in the food system, but so far, a dedicated circular policy and clear circular metrics have yet to be published.
Opportunities for improvement
- Market safer alternatives
Nutrien does not have any safer alternatives evaluated by independent third parties in its product portfolio. Safer alternatives replace the use of hazardous substances and are crucial in order to put an end to chemical pollution. The company should, therefore, start producing safer alternatives or market existing ones on an independent third-party platform. A good place to advertise is ChemSec’s Marketplace, where buyers and suppliers can find and market safer alternatives.
- Prevent further controversies
Over the last five years, Nutrien has been involved in incidents leading to liabilities of over US$ 88 million and should re-design or dramatically improve its Environment, Health and Safety strategy. This would help the company to better avoid incidents and make sure that controls – functioning even when human errors occur – are in place. If an accident or spill should happen, it is important that Nutrien identifies the cause and publishes a document on strategies that will be implemented to avoid similar occurrences in the future. It is possible to prevent human suffering and environmental pollution when producing chemicals, but it requires a thorough Environment, Health and Safety system.
- Increase circularity
The chemical industry finds itself at the beginning of the value chain. Therefore, it has a responsibility to act fast against the ever-growing scarcity of our planet’s resources. Nutrien receives two points for circularity since we were unable to identify any circular products, processes or strategies. Nor did we see a decrease in hazardous waste or increased use of recycled hazard-free feedstock or biobased material. Nutrien should start by identifying its current production and use of circular products and processes, and then specify the share of revenue that is derived from such products. The company should also develop and present a circularity strategy, including a commitment to increase the share of revenue derived from circular products.