Moscow – PhosAgro Group welcomes the adoption of the International Code of Conduct for the Sustainable Use and Management of Fertilizers developed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). 

According to the FAO, the International Code of Conduct was developed with the aim of eliminating hunger, improving food safety and stimulating the production, distribution and use of safe fertilizers.

It contains clear recommendations for governments throughout the world to establish laws limiting the sale and use of fertilizers with an excess of heavy metals or other impurities that could enter the soil.

The Code calls on governments and fertilizer producers to ensure that fertilizers are clearly labelled with information about impurities (including heavy metals) and their potential impact on the environment and human health.

The Code also draws special attention to insufficient fertilizer application in a number of agricultural regions that leads to a decrease in the content of necessary nutrients in the soil and causes damage to soil health and its potential productivity. The approval of the Code represents a new global consensus on the need for a regulatory framework to ensure agricultural security and promote its sustainable development, while reducing risks to human health and negative environmental impacts and ensuring food security.

International efforts in this field were galvanised by the European Parliament and the European Council in May of this year with the adoption of a historic decision on an EU-wide ban on phosphate-based fertilizers with high levels of heavy metals effective from 2022, and the simultaneous introduction of voluntary green labelling for fertilizers with a cadmium content lower than 20 mg/kg of P205. A regulation limiting the cadmium content of phosphate-based fertilizers to not more than 60 mg/kg of P205 will enter into force throughout the entire EU – with further tightening to 40 mg/kg possible seven years later.

At present, voluntary restrictions on the sale of fertilizers are already in effect in 29 countries, including 21 European states, which began unilaterally introducing strict regulations in the 1980s. In Switzerland, for example, the limit on cadmium was set at 21 mg/kg of P2O5 back in 1986; in Sweden, 44 mg/kg of P2O5; in the Netherlands, 31 mg/kg of P2O5; in Hungary and Slovakia, 20 mg/kg of P2O5; and in Finland, 22 mg/kg of P2O5.

Irina Bokova, Chair of PhosAgro’s Committee for Sustainable Development and former UNESCO Director-General, said: “Finding a solution to the problem of hunger by means of safe food is one of the most pressing global challenges that humanity must face collectively at various levels – from fertilizer producers and scientists to state leaders. The new EU regulations on cadmium levels and the International Code of Conduct for the Sustainable Use and Management of Fertilizers prove that this has gained importance not just in a particular country or region, but at the global level of the United Nations.

“PhosAgro, as a responsible producer whose products are used in more than 100 countries around the world, welcomes the approval of the regulations and the UN Code, and for its part is doing everything possible not only to produce fertilizers that are highly efficient and environmentally friendly, and that meet the most stringent safety standards for human health and the environment, but also to ensure continuous efforts to produce more advanced, high-quality product that meets the strictest requirements and facilitates crop cultivation. PhosAgro and FAO goals in this area fully coincide. We both aim to ensure food security and guarantee access to high-quality food. Without high-quality, safe and regular nutrition, it is impossible to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 – healthy lives and wellbeing for all, since life begins with nutrition.”

PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev said: “Sustainable development is a cornerstone of the Company’s strategy to 2025 approved by the Board of Directors this March. This also implies PhosAgro’s contribution to solving global issues such as food security and improving global human health. However, global problems require unified regulations and terms for all participants in the food chain. The Company therefore welcomes the publication of the new EU regulations and the UN Code, which create positive long-term effects for the sustainability of agriculture and food producers around the world. Safe fertilizers with no harmful impurities, primarily heavy metals, guarantees the health of our soils in the long term – and therefore the health of plants, animals and humans as its end user.

“Fertilizers produced from pure phosphate rock by PhosAgro naturally meet the most stringent limits under the green labelling initiative introduced by the new EU regulations, and we are pleased that our customers will soon be able to make more informed choices about their crop nutrients.

“We believe that widespread dissemination and implementation of the Code’s guidelines will facilitate a unified approach and provide insights to help solve global challenges related to food security, environmental pollution and ensuring sustainable agricultural development.”