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Yara, Lantmännen sign one-of-a-kind deal for fossil-free fertilizers

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Yara, a leading global fertilizer producer, and Lantmännen, northern Europe’s top agricultural cooperative with operations from field to fork, are the first companies to sign a commercial agreement to bring fossil-free fertilizers to market. Produced with renewable energy, these green fertilizers are expected to have as much as a 90 percent lower carbon footprint, and they could become a crucial step for decarbonizing the food chain and offering consumers increasingly sustainable food choices.

The two companies began testing the commercial viability of green fertilizers in 2019 while seeking to create a fossil-free food chain. The  resulting green fertilizers will be produced by Yara and marketed by Lantmännen in Sweden starting in 2023.

Instead of using fossil fuels such as natural gas to produce ammonia — the building block of mineral fertilizers — the green fertilizers will be produced with ammonia based on renewable energy produced in Europe, such as Norwegian hydropower. The result will be fertilizers with an estimated 80 percent to 90 percent lower carbon footprint. Yara has a portfolio of green ammonia projects, which will be key to producing green fertilizers, in Norway, the Netherlands, and Australia, and is working actively to expand its clean ammonia business.

fossil-free-fertilizers
The green fertilizers that will be produced by Yara and marketed by Lantmännen from 2023 will have an 80 percent to 90 percent lower carbon footprint. (Photo courtesy of Mårten Svensson)

“Our partnership with Lantmännen to bring green fertilizers to market is crucial for decarbonizing the food value chain. We have to transform the food system to deliver on the Paris Agreement, and this will require collaboration across the entire food chain instead of working in silos. The Yara-Lantmännen partnership is a concrete example of how this can be done,” says Svein Tore Holsether, president and CEO of Yara.

Related: Bayer launches initiative to measure carbon footprint of ag

The fertilizers will be incorporated into Lantmännen’s cultivation program Climate & Nature, which specific measures to reduce the climate impact from cultivation and boost biodiversity, carried out by contracted farmers on their own farms. The goal of the program is to make it profitable for farmers to adopt more sustainable farming practices. Green fertilizers from Yara are an important additional component in the further development of the program — for example, Yara’s nitrate-based mineral fertilizers produced in the European Union and Norway already have a carbon footprint that is about 50 to 60 percent lower compared with most non-EU fertilizers.

Combining the fertilizers with fossil free fuels, transport, and precision farming, Lantmännen hopes to be able to establish a fossil-free value chain.

“Lantmännen drives the development towards farming of the future. With the green fertilizers from Yara in place we enable Swedish farmers to continue to be at the forefront, offering our customers sustainability performance according to global climate targets as well as bringing sustainable food to consumers. With this partnership, we can continue to meet an increased market demand for sustainable products,” says Per Olof Nyman, group president and CEO at Lantmännen.

Yara and Lantmännen are also collaborating on other projects to reduce the carbon footprint of farming in the field through crop nutrition solutions, innovative farming practices as well as digital tools, enabling the transition to a decarbonized and more sustainable food value chain.

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