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Lantmännen and Yara sign first commercial fossil-free fertilizer deal

Lantmännen Group, northern Europe’s leading integrated agricultural cooperative, and Norway-headed Yara International ASA, a leading global fertilizer producer, have signed a commercial agreement to bring fossil-free fertilizer to market. 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.

Yara International ASA and Lantmännen Group have signed a first-of-its-kind commercial contract for the supply of green fossil-free fertilizer. The deal was signed by Hans Larsson (left), Commercial Director for Yara Sweden, and Torbjörn Wahlström, Market Manager Arable Inputs, Agriculture Sector at Lantmännen (photo courtesy Mårten Svensson).

The companies began testing the commercial viability of green fertilizers in 2019 with a common goal to realize the world’s first fossil-free food chain. This collaboration has now resulted in a first-of-its-kind commercial contract for green fertilizers, which will be produced by Yara and marketed by Lantmännen in Sweden starting in 2023.

Produced with renewable energy, these green fertilizers are crucial for decarbonizing the food chain and offering consumers more sustainable food choices. The result will be fertilizers with an 80 to 90 percent lower carbon footprint.

Collaboration is key

According to Yara, its fossil-derived nitrate-based mineral fertilizers produced in the European Union (EU) and Norway currently have a carbon footprint that is about 50 to 60 percent lower compared with most non-EU fertilizers.

This is due to the use of a best available technology (BAT) catalytic process that reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during production, which was first developed by Yara and later shared with other producers.

In 2023, Yara will be able to provide nitrate-based green fertilizers with a carbon footprint that is further reduced by 80 to 90 percent thanks to the use of renewable energy.

Independent third party, assurance and risk management provider DNV will validate the Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) methodology, which is one of the most established methods for determining the climate impact of a product.

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, said Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of Yara.

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.

Furthermore, it is also working on reducing the remaining climate impact by, for example, enabling the use of recycled nutrients and further improving the energy efficiency of its production plants.

A critical component for a fossil-free field to fork

For Lantmännen, using green fertilizers will be an important step closer to reaching climate-neutral farming. The fertilizers will be incorporated into Lantmännen’s cultivation program Climate & Nature.

This is part of Lantmännen’s program for Farming of the Future that includes specific measures to reduce the climate impact from cultivation and boost biodiversity, carried out by contracted farmers on their own farms.

The program makes it profitable for farmers to adopt more sustainable farming practices, and with the program, Lantmännen has reduced the climate footprint from wheat cultivation by up to 30 percent since 2015.

Green fertilizers from Yara are an important additional component in the further development of the program, which is dynamic and criteria for more sustainable farming methods will be added continuously, further improving sustainability performance.

Combining green fertilizers with fossil-free fuels, transport, and precision farming, Lantmännen will be able to establish a fossil-free value chain – from field to fork. With green fertilizers included in the program, Lantmännen estimates the climate impact of wheat production will be reduced even further by 20 percentage points.

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 increased market demand for sustainable products, said 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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