Moscow – PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev delivered a report about the Company’s progress in the the field of ESG at the 2020 High Level Forum hosted by the International Fertilizer Association.
Discussion at the Forum’s round table was dedicated to the impact of the pandemic on industry leaders and their commitment to sustainable development, and was attended by executives from WBCSD, Unilever, Syngenta, Engro Fertilizers and CF Industries.
As the moderator Diane Holdorf, Managing Director of Food and Nature at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, noted in her opening remarks, companies around the world are monitoring their sustainability indicators more frequently, providing reports on ESG practices to assist long-term risk assessments and update their investors. The adoption of the 2030 UN Agenda with its Sustainable Development Goals and the impact of the pandemic have accelerated this trend, encouraging businesses to develop more sustainable models that are better aligned with ESG requirements.
According to Diane Holdorf, “hunger and food shortage around the world has been worsening,” and even as agricultural production volumes need to grow, the agricultural production sector is responsible for 37% of greenhouse gas emissions. “The time has come to reformat the industry,” the moderator emphasised.
Jan Kees Vis, Global Director of Sustainable Sourcing Development at Unilever believes that a transformation that ensures the well-being of the world’s rapidly growing population, which is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, is possible. He added that it is crucial to take responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions. For this reason, 65% of the energy Unilever consumes is generated from renewable sources. “We have set a goal to create by 2023 a supply chain that does not contribute to deforestation, and to integrate all suppliers in our greenhouse gas reporting," said Jan Kees Vis.
In his speech, Graeme Taylor, Global Head of Public Affairs at Syngenta, brought up the important topic of preserving and building sustainable food systems that do not harm soil fertility and ensure their health for future generations.
In turn, Nadir Salar Qureshi, CEO of the Pakistani fertilizer manufacturer Engro Fertilizers, noted the need to educate farmers on sustainable agriculture and how to achieve it with the greatest advantage and efficiency.
Andrey Guryev, PhosAgro CEO and President of the Russian Association of Fertilizer Producers, told Forum participants and guests about PhosAgro's experience in this area.
"As a global company that supplies 102 countries with mineral fertilizers that are unique due to their environmental friendliness and that contain no concentrations of toxic substances that are harmful to human health and soils, we consider the issue of ensuring food security and preserving soil health to be key to achieving Sustainable Development Goals under the 2030 UN Agenda," said Mr Guryev.
He recalled that PhosAgro was the first Russian company in the FAO's history to be selected by the organisation to implement a global initiative in the field of soil protection. Last year, PhosAgro partnered with the FAO to launch a global network of soil laboratories that will assess the quality and safety of fertilizers and monitor soil health. As a result, farmers will be able to make informed decisions in terms of increasing soil fertility and preserving the ecology of soils, as well as ensuring the correct balance of nutrients and protecting soils from pollution.
The CEO of PhosAgro noted that the large-scale COVID-19 crisis has clearly demonstrated that commitment to the principles and goals of sustainable development, as well as preparedness for a wide range of ESG-related risks, is a solid foundation for business growth.
“Therefore, even in the current volatile environment, PhosAgro is continuing to follow the measures as set out in our development strategy to 2025. It stipulates stable growth, innovation and preservation of resources as well as socially oriented and sustainable development. Together with our stakeholders, we have assessed our contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and have chosen the 11 goals that we have the greatest capacity to influence. These SDGs have become the basis for PhosAgro’s strategic targets,” said Mr Guryev.
He stressed that the Company’s progress in the ESG area has been confirmed by international industry ratings. In November 2020, Sustainalytics increased the Company’s ESG rating from 43.5 to 26.9 during its regular review. This is one of the highest ESG risk management scores the agency has given to any major Russian company or global fertilizer producer. MSCI ESG Research, another reputable agency in the field, upgraded PhosAgro to BBB in August 2020. In October 2020, the Company was again awarded the most prestigious business award in Russia – the Grand Prix at the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs’ (RUIE) ‘Russian Business Leaders: Dynamics, Responsibility, Sustainability – 2019’ competition. The award has only been given twice in the competition’s history, both times to PhosAgro.
“In business, they say that any crisis is a time of opportunity. Today, the pandemic is forcing mankind to rethink ways of development and reassess its priorities. This is a chance for all of us that we must take to move to a sustainable development model for the benefit of future generations,” said Mr Guryev.