Technical current issues

Major activities in 2012 have covered climate change, where the committee has had notable success in issues relating to ETS III, assessment of the carbon footprint of fertilizer production, further development of the Fertilizers Europe Product Stewardship program, and fertilizer safety and security. Its focus for 2013 will remain on Product Stewardship as well as on fertilizer security, the new fertilizer regulation and the issue of carbon leakage.

 

ETS and climate change

The committee has closely followed evolution of ETS III (Emission Trading Scheme) in close cooperation with other Fertilizers Europe committees. During 2012, its actions resulted in necessary benefits for its members:

  • The European Commission (DG Competition) qualified the fertilizer sector for state aid relating to the carbon cost of electricity, which is essential for some members. The decision now has to be followed up at national level.
  • We were able to prove to the Commission that it should withdraw its plan for a 2012 ban on emission reduction units (ERUs) in joint-implementation projects. Members who had made early investments in installing abatement technology will therefore not be unduly penalized.

The committee has actively collaborated with Cefic and the consultancy office Ecofys in developing a 2050 Roadmap to the low-carbon economy. The roadmap is intended as a tool for Fertilizers Europe’s advocacy activities in the areas of climate change and energy. It clearly shows that nitrate-based fertilizers perform much better than urea-based fertilizers in terms of overall emissions. Over the long term, this will become even more important as Carbon Capture and Storage becomes available.

The committee’s Carbon Footprint Task Force has developed a calculator to assess the carbon footprint of fertilizer production. This calculator will now be used in combination with the Cool Farm Tool, a whole farm calculator to provide the carbon footprint of various agricultural products within a full life-cycle analysis perspective.

 

Product Stewardship

Fertilizers Europe’s Product Stewardship program has been the umbrella for our members’ environment, safety and security activities since 2003. In 2012, we continued our collaboration with the International Fertilizer Association (IFA) to make Product Stewardship the global standard for the industry.

 

Benchmark studies

Fertilizer Europe regularly performs benchmark studies covering industry safety, environmental emissions and energy use. The data collected provide key references in discussions with the European Commission and other institutions. Member companies also use the studies to benchmark their own performance. In 2012, we organized surveys on:

  • Emissions (N2O, CO2, NOx etc.)
  • Energy efficiency in ammonia production
  • Safety performance: Total Injury Rate (TIR) and Lost Time Injury Rate (LTIR).

 

Safety

The committee has organized an annual Safety Seminar since 1997. It provides a platform for members to discuss safety and related issues in order to exchange experience and increase knowledge. The 2012 seminar, held in Warsaw, saw record member participation. The seminar was followed by a plant visit to Pulawy.

Fertilizers Europe also maintains a database of some 800 safety incidents that have taken place since 1920. This is a useful tool for member companies and the recommendations in its accident reports provide a learning tool. In 2012, the database became available on-line in the Members Lounge.

 

Security

Fertilizers Europe closely follows developments in Europe and worldwide regarding risks of the misuse of fertilizers. At the beginning of 2013, the European Union voted on legislation on explosives precursors and the European Commission has started the drafting process for implementation guidelines for this legislation.

Fertilizers Europe has updated its own security measures under its Product Stewardship program, which now cover all nitrogenous fertilizers in the supply chain. It has also actively participated in the IFA task force on security, proposing our Product Stewardship measures as the model for the basic levels of IFA Product Stewardship.

 

New fertilizer legislation

In cooperation with the Agriculture Committee, the committee has actively participated in the European Commission’s stakeholders working groups to prepare the new fertilizer regulation. Fertilizers Europe is in favour of the fully harmonized approach where common safety, security and quality requirements will be applied to all types of fertilizer.

 

2013 focus

Product Stewardship: All Fertilizers Europe members will be audited according to our Product Stewardship program in 2014. The secretariat will organize the auditing process and help new members to integrate into the program. Fertilizers Europe will also continue to cooperate with the European Commission and stakeholders in defining and implementing measures to reduce the risk of fertilizer misuse. The committee will also review and issue new versions of several guidance documents on the safety of fertilizers.

Fertilizer Regulation: It is expected that the Commission’s proposal for the new fertilizer regulation proposal will enter the legislative process in 2013. In close collaboration with the Agriculture Committee, the Technical Committee will play an important role in defending industry’s position on a number of important issues, such as limits on contaminants.

Climate change: In 2014 the European Commission will review the list of industrial sectors at risk of carbon leakage. It is of the utmost importance that our sector is recognized as being at high risk and Fertilizers Europe will prepare data and the arguments for defending this issue.