Why it matters
Reducing potential impacts from the agricultural products we manufacture and sell is one way we can help our customers manage increasing environmental and societal pressures. From product development, feedstock sourcing and manufacturing, to distribution, sales and use, we strive to minimize product risk, while maximizing the health, safety, environmental and social benefits of our products. Nutrien is committed to the safe, responsible and sustainable handling and use of our products throughout their lifecycle.
Our work on product stewardship supports the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
Product stewardship means minimizing the risk while maximizing the health, safety, environmental and social benefits of a product throughout its lifecycle. We strive to improve our product sustainability profile across procurement, product development, manufacturing, distribution and end-use application.
We have a Product Stewardship Strategic Issue Team (“PS-SIT”) to provide cross-functional subject matter expertise and a platform for transparent communication and strategic guidance throughout the Company across all product categories. The PS-SIT’s objectives include demonstrating alignment, leadership, and a commitment to product quality and safety, along with promoting a product risk reduction and sustainability enhancement approach across Nutrien.
Our product stewardship approach seeks to address product safety, environmental and social areas of concern over the entire lifecycle of each product. Nutrien determines product suitability using scientific evidence, effectiveness, regulatory guidance and sustainability impact.
Circularity: We specifically aim to foster circularity in the nutrient lifecycle from production to harvest, which is where we have the largest influence. Within the nutrient lifecycle, the largest risk of losses occurs when nutrients are applied to fields. We promote the 4R Nutrient Stewardship (“4Rs”) program (Right Source of plant nutrients at the Right Rate, Right Time and Right Place), which makes a positive contribution to product effectiveness, reducing losses to the environment, and keeping nutrients in the soil for crops to grow. To further explore nutrient circularity, in 2022, Nutrien became a member of the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance (“SPA”), an organization whose mandate is to be North America’s central forum and advocate for the sustainable use, recovery and recycling of phosphorus in the food system.
Product risk rating profiles: In 2022, we compiled hazard classification values for our wholesale NPK (fertilizer) products and reviewed a number of best practices to identify information categories that will form the basis for our product risk profiles. We continue to consolidate and evaluate this information, which is expected to allow us to identify types of risk across our portfolio, develop clearer options for improving product safety and sustainability, and expand our scope of product-related ESG metrics reporting by 2024.
We are considering the following five categories for inclusion in our risk profile evaluation:
- Globally Harmonized System (“GHS”) chemical hazard classifications, sourced from product Safety Data Sheet (“SDS”) documents
- Presence of regulated banned or restricted chemical ingredient listings
- Presence of regulated chemical product impurities
- Presence of chemical categories known to cause persistent environmental or health impairment
- Product potential for unintended or illegal use that causes harm to society or environment
Classification and labeling of chemicals: We are progressing our alignment with the SASB Standards for Chemicals framework for our NPK (fertilizer) manufactured products target, which suggests using GHS classification and labeling of chemicals in categories 1 and 2 related to health and environmental hazardous substances. We report on these hazard classifications for North American and European Union manufactured NPK products and are working towards including North American NPK products sold through our Nutrien Ag Solutions division.
Impact management across our value chain
Nutrien promotes best practices that are designed to improve crop yields and farming economics while reducing impacts.
Crops input management
We seek to promote sustainable nutrient management for increased food production in an economically viable way while retaining the ecological integrity of food systems.
We aim to consider the social impacts on human health and the environment of our products from development, to point of sale, to safe use and disposal. To make informed decisions about product suitability and use, we monitor research closely and follow product and ingredient reviews by regulatory agencies, including toxicology and environmental impact studies, chemical hazard classification reviews, substances of very high concern bulletins, government chemical risk assessment reports, and regional and global environmental impact reports. Nutrien may use animal-based testing to confirm human health safety assurance only on rare occasions when scientifically valid alternative methods are not available or if required by law. Read our Animal Testing Statement for details.
Safe product handling and application
Nutrien’s products are developed for specific applications. Product use outside of the mandated scope as defined on the label, in contravention of regulatory standards or crop advisor guidance, or due to misuse in general, have the potential to cause negative impacts. We promote the safe and legal use of Nutrien products with product disclosures, manufacturing and retail systems that help enforce regulatory standards, and training employees and contractors who handle and apply our products.
Disclosure and transparency
- Safety Data Sheets ("SDSs") accompany all chemical products that Nutrien manufactures and sells. SDSs contain essential information about the properties of each chemical including any physical, health and environmental health hazards in addition to any safety precautions required for handling, storing and transporting the chemical. SDSs are available at our production facilities, during product transport and at our retail locations, and are accessible on our website or through third-party providers for our customers and the general public 24 hours a day.
- Our product labels and SDSs are compliant with the local laws and regulations where we sell our products (for example, the US EPA, Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency (“PMRA”), European REACH, Fertilizer Act and Chemical Labelling and Packaging (“CLP”), Canadian Food Inspection Agency (“CFIA”), and the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”).
- We provide online and telephone technical support for retailers, customers and employees on the interpretation of SDSs and labels, on the appropriate use of products (for example, reactivity with other chemicals, storage and disposal methods) and for any first aid measures required in an emergency situation.
- Our product stewardship team continuously reviews and updates the information on our labels and in our fertilizer manufacturing and retail data systems to ensure regulatory compliance and safe use of our products.
Safe application of agricultural products: Pesticides and herbicides are highly regulated products in the markets where we operate. We comply with regulations applicable to our business and have policies and procedures for the safe and appropriate use of the products we sell.
Training: We require that our applicator employees, contractors and contracted service providers have the required industry and regional training and qualifications to handle and apply our products (for example, Pest Control Advisor, Qualified Applicator License or Certificate), and our technical services include training and advice on best practices for products sold through our Nutrien Ag Solutions operating segment.