A farmer plows his field, Tuesday, May 5, 2020 in St. Benoit, Quebec. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Nutrien calls on fertilizer industry to support its agriculture climate change drive

Nutrien calls on fertilizer industry to support its agriculture climate change drive

SASKATOON — Nutrien Ltd. is calling on other members of the fertilizer industry to join its fight against climate change as it launches an agriculture carbon program to drive improved environmental sustainability and boost profits for farmers.

The Saskatoon-based company said Monday it plans to use its role as the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services to help growers plan, plant and track practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, trap and store carbon and measure the resulting improvements.

It will then help farmers make money from their environmental efforts by facilitating the purchase and sale of carbon credits used by industries to offset their emissions and reduce carbon taxes.

“We really wanted to make sure that this was a rallying cry for the industry. We can’t do it alone … and we really need the agriculture industry now to step up to tackle climate change,” said CEO Chuck Magro on an investor day webcast.

After years of study, Nutrien concluded the best way to encourage agriculture to help fight climate change is to create “a carbon economy,” where most of the resulting value goes to the farmer, he said.

Nutrien will benefit indirectly by helping growers meet their carbon goals, he added.

“It’s our people, our products, and our technology, that’s going to drive, I think, a lot of this success, so we will naturally benefit by supplying services, products, technology, using our platform,” said Magro.

Nutrien is to pilot its new carbon program in certain regions across North America in 2021 and plans to later take it to South America and Australia.

In a video presentation on the webcast, Nutrien showed how farmers will be able to track their improvements in environmental sustainability through its Ag Solutions digital hub, an online program that also allows customers to consult with Nutrien advisers, order products and services and pay bills.

Products that could be used to earn credits include crop protection inputs, biologicals, micronutrients and slow-release fertilizers, while practices such as no-till cropping and planting cover crops would earn credits by sequestering carbon, said Mike Frank, executive vice-president and CEO of retail.

Agriculture accounts for about 10 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, said Shane Moffat of Greenpeace Canada, adding unabsorbed nitrogen fertilizer creates nitrous oxide which is far more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

Nutrien should be committing to producing less nitrogen fertilizer if it really wants to slow global warming, he said.

“Generally, Greenpeace considers offsets a distraction from the focus on polluters reducing their emissions,” Moffat said.

“In the case of Nutrien’s announcement, will this also be a distraction from the importance of shifting away from industrial and fertilizer-intensive agriculture towards organic farming?”

Demand for carbon credits has more than doubled since 2017, Nutrien said, citing a recent state of voluntary carbon markets report from Ecosystem Marketplace.

It says the global market for carbon offsets is expected to increase by 40 to 100 times by 2050.

In 2019, Nutrien became one of the first users of the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, a project that collects carbon dioxide from its fertilizer plant northeast of Edmonton and other industries and transports it to mature oil and gas reservoirs for use in enhanced oil recovery and storage.

By Dan Healing in Calgary

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:NTR)

Dan Healing, The Canadian Press


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

Alberta reported an additional 1,980 cases of COVID-19 Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer adds 37th death from COVID-19, active cases drop

Alberta Health identified an additional 1,980 cases of the virus province-wide

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman didn’t expect to get hit with a double whammy at… Continue reading

A courtroom at the Edmonton Law Courts building, in Edmonton on Friday, June 28, 2019. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the Canadian justice system warn a number of legal experts. The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench announced Sunday it would adjourn all scheduled trials across the province for at least 10-weeks limiting hearings to only emergency or urgent matters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

EDMONTON — An Edmonton woman was found guilty Friday of manslaughter in… Continue reading

A Statistics Canada 2016 Census mailer sits on the key board of a laptop after arriving in the mail at a residence in Ottawa, May 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Statistics Canada sees more demand to fill out census online during pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the response to the census is higher… Continue reading

Travellers, who are not affected by new quarantine rules, arrive at Terminal 3 at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Ottawa will create a new digital platform to help in processing immigration applications more quickly and efficiently after COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for a faster shift to a digital immigration system, the immigration department said. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ottawa to create new system to tackle delays in processing immigration applications

Ottawa says it will create a new digital platform to help process… Continue reading

A man on a skateboard and a young woman pass large letters spelling out UBC at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver on November 22, 2015. The federal government is writing off more than $200 million in outstanding student loan payments that officials will never be able to collect. Recently released spending documents show the government won't collect $203.5 million in debts from 34,240 students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan

VANCOUVER — A B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing is set to start… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday’s $25 million Lotto max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $25 million jackpot… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
States scale back vaccine orders as interest in shots wanes

MADISON, Wis. — States asked the federal government this week to withhold… Continue reading

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas talks with his players during a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match against Mexico's Cruz Azul at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Fernando Llano
Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Most Read