Sustainable Fertilizer Use
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Using Fertilizer Responsibly to Grow More

Since soils were first cultivated to grow food, crop production has impacted the environment. Farming affects both soil and water quality—but with modern agricultural techniques and careful management, it’s possible to maintain a positive balance between well-nourished crops and environmental protection.

Because they are accountable for about half of the world’s crop yields, fertilizers are critically important to global food production systems—yet proper use is imperative. For fertilizer use to be sustainable, it must support cropping systems that provide economic, environmental and social benefits. Mosaic supports and promotes the 4R Nutrient Stewardship framework, which helps define best practices that meet the sustainability goals of a farming operation.

What is 4R Nutrient Stewardship?

Every fertilizer application is a combination of source, rate, time and place. 4R Nutrient Stewardship encompasses fertilizer best management practices into a framework to achieve cropping system goals—including optimizing yields, while maximizing profitability and sustainability. To achieve those goals, the 4Rs incorporate the: Right nutrient source, at the Right rate, at the Right time and in the Right place.

We support The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to pilot a nutrient application standard encouraging agricultural retailers, service providers and other certified professionals in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan—where surrounding waters drain into the Western Lake Erie Basin—to adopt proven best practices through the 4Rs.

Mosaic’s Responsible Operations

As one the world’s leading producers and marketers of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients, Mosaic is dedicated to helping increase the sustainability of the global food value chain. We demonstrate this commitment by maximizing efficiencies and minimizing our use of energy and natural resources.

We take an “every drop counts” approach to water management, and we aim to recycle or reuse water at every opportunity. We set measurable goals and hold ourselves accountable for the reduction of waste, water use and greenhouse gas emissions. We also seek to increase our use of electrical cogeneration and alternative energy sources. By producing and using our own clean energy, Mosaic avoided approximately 1 million tonnes of carbon equivalent emissions, which is comparable to taking an estimated 205,000 average U.S. cars off the road.

Mosaic has reported our sustainability performance annually since 2009, and we have made significant progress in reducing our environmental footprint. We’re proud that our performance has been recognized by several leading organizations:

  • CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project): Mosaic was recognized by the environmental non-profit, CDP, as a leader among Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) companies for our actions to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the business risks of climate change. 2014 marked the second year we achieved a position on both the CDP S&P 500 Climate Disclosure Leadership Index and the CDP S&P 500 Climate Performance Leadership Index. Our score of 99 out of 100 in carbon disclosure, and grade of “A” out of A – E in carbon performance was the highest combined score of any company CDP evaluated in the Materials Sector.
  • Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s “100 Best Corporate Citizens”: 2015 marked the sixth consecutive year Mosaic has been recognized on the CR100 list, which is known as one of the world's top corporate responsibility rankings based on publicly available information.
  • Newsweek Green Rankings: Mosaic earned the No. 181 position in Newsweek’s 2015 list of America’s greenest companies. In partnership with Corporate Knights Capital and leading sustainability minds from nongovernmental organizations and the academic and accounting communities, Newsweek ranks the world’s largest companies on corporate sustainability and environmental impact.

Food Security and Climate Change

With population growth, rising incomes and changing diets driving the need for 60 percent more food by 2050, agriculture faces a big challenge—especially when it comes to the realities of a changing climate.

Farmers know better than anyone else what it means to adapt to variable weather patterns. For generations, their livelihoods have depended on their ability to adjust farming practices accordingly. However, with higher temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and more frequent natural disasters, farmers all over the world will face unprecedented challenges in the decades to come.

The fact is, poor soil fertility makes these conditions even more difficult to manage. Balanced crop nutrition is critical to growing strong, healthy plants, which are more resistant to drought, heat, disease and other conditions brought about by climate change.

To help farmers manage the stress of extreme weather conditions, Mosaic promotes 4R Nutrient Stewardship, a best practices framework advocating use of the: Right nutrient source, at the Right rate, at the Right time and in the Right place. Read more about our commitment to the 4Rs.

Increasing Crop Production, Conserving Resources

At Mosaic, we believe in sustainable crop yield intensification, which means perpetually increasing agricultural productivity on existing farm fields. We support the use of conservation agriculture methods such as reduced tillage, cover crops and crop rotation, and we partner with organizations dedicated to promoting these practices:

  • Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture: Field To Market® is a diverse alliance working to create opportunities across the agricultural supply chain for continuous improvements in productivity, environmental quality, and human wellbeing. The group provides collaborative leadership that is engaged in industry-wide dialogue, grounded in science, and open to the full range of technology choices.
  • Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC): CTIC champions, promotes and provides information on technologies and sustainable agricultural systems that conserve and enhance soil, water, air and wildlife resources and are productive and profitable. Mosaic supports CTIC’s annual Conservation in Action Tour, as well as its World Congress on Conservation Agriculture.
  • The Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture: Mosaic is a founding member of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture, which launched in September 2014 at the UN Climate Summit. “Climate-smart agriculture” is an approach addressing food security and climate change.