Charting our progress on sustainable ag: building an app for that

Published: Jun 23, 2022

Learn how Nutrien’s tech and Sustainability teams built a new tool that’s helping to enable our ESG journey.

Nutrien is proud to be on the leading edge in many ways when it comes to sustainable agriculture – but one of the tricky parts of being a leader and a pioneer is that there’s often no playbook for the work you need to do. 

For example, to track and report on our progress related to our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) commitments – and to facilitate planning for future opportunities – we needed to be able to track massive amounts of very diverse data from a multitude of sources across our global footprint. And there’s no app for that!

So our tech team had to build one – from the ground up. 

In collaboration with stakeholders from across our business, they rose to the challenge and created what we call ESG OneSource – a brand-new platform that plays a large role in enabling, and in some areas is helping to drive, our ESG journey.

A formidable task

In 2021, Nutrien took a bold step in its sustainable agriculture journey, when we unveiled our Feeding the Future Plan, which contains six commitments we’re working to achieve by 2030 to address the challenge of sustainably feeding a growing global population while protecting the planet. Through these commitments, we’re driving systemic change and leading the next wave of agricultural evolution.

We had a thorough understanding of the relevant datasets we needed to leverage to track our progress in this effort; global platforms for safety, environment, human resources and procurement, for example, were all readily available. But we needed a way to package and brand it as the single view into Nutrien’s ESG performance and impact.

From ideation to execution

In our tech organization, we often start with a question or idea and then iterate over multiple incorrect versions to speed up the ideation process. The intent is to shine a light on the art of the possible, move quickly, and learn as we go.

In this case, we assembled a cross-functional team of experts in Sustainability and ESG, as well as the applicable tech disciplines – both in-house and third-party resources. The team’s goals were to eliminate duplicate manual effort, create data efficiency, develop robust and timely reporting, and grow our internal sustainability culture. 

As they worked through the challenges, the process gathered steam and they found they could deploy existing tools – enterprise data warehouses, business intelligence and low-code systems – to develop a cohesive platform. ESG OneSource was born.

The tool consolidates data from more than a dozen internal streams – as well as information from external agencies and social platforms on the commitments and performance of our peers – and packages it in a powerful, intuitive and interactive dashboard. We now have a sustainable way to measure sustainability.

The journey continues

But that doesn’t mean we’re done. As ESG OneSource has continued to grow and expand its footprint across Nutrien, the team continues to stay stride-for-stride with the demand. The platform will continue to evolve as the regulatory and ESG reporting frameworks change, but we have a solid foundation to build on, and stakeholders across the company are engaging with and leveraging the data it provides.

Sustainability and ESG are not a ‘nice to have’ for companies any longer. We need to think differently, act better and change our impact for the future – and thanks to ESG OneSource, Nutrien is well on its way in that journey.