Q&A

What is Product Stewardship for Fertilizers?

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Product Stewardship is a management program ensuring that fertilizers and their raw materials, additives and intermediate products are processed and manufactured, handled, stored, distributed and used in a safe way with regard to health, occupational and public safety, environment, and security. This includes supplying plant nutrients which satisfy society's requirements to safe food production and animal feed.

For whom is the Fertilizers Europe Product Stewardship Program intended?

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The Fertilizers Europe Product Stewardship Program is primarily intended for mineral fertilizer producers. It is mandatory for Member Companies of Fertilizers Europe. Moreover, the program addresses the whole Product Life Chain meaning suppliers, contractors, distributors and customers are involved. They should equally be involved. 

Companies not located in Europe can qualify for this PS under the IFA Protect & Sustain scheme.

Why is Fertilizers Europe requiring its members to implement a Product Stewardship Program?

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After several major accidents in the fertilizer industry in Europe in 2001 and 2002, the European manufacturers decided to develop a Product Stewardship Program which should be mandatory for all members of Fertilizers Europe. The program should be a framework for all SHE activities of Fertilizers Europe, including security issues. The consistent implementation of the Program by the members will significantly reduce the risk of serious incidents with fertilizers, and will improve the perception of the industry as a safe and reliable industry sector.  

Do most of the Companies not already have ISO and IMAS certification and will there not be a duplication?

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Some duplication is unavoidable and several questions will therefore be readily answerable. This duplication is, however, considered necessary in order to catch all product related issues. In addition the checklists cover topics of importance to our Industry not necessarily covered by ISO and IMAS.

Is there a link between Fertilizers Europe and IFA’s Protect & Sustain?

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Fertilizers Europe Product Stewardship is integrated in IFA’s as the highest level. See IFA’s Protect & Sutain Website.

How is Fertilizers Europe checking that members are operating in accordance with the requirements of the Product Stewardship Program?

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Fertilizers Europe has, together with an independent third party audit company (DNV), developed a compliance system consisting of:

  1. An audit questionnaire. The questionnaire is designed to assist the Members of Fertilizers Europe in identifying gaps and possible improvements to be made in their current Product Stewardship activity. A weighting is introduced to facilitate a simple progress reporting and for establishing improvement targets. The questionnaire can either be used for a self-assessment or as a basis for an independent third party auditing.
  2. Inspection checklists for validating that day-to day operations are in conformance with the Product Stewardship Program of Fertilizers Europe.

The implementation of the Program by Member Companies is audited regularly by an independent third party. The results of the audit are assessed by the Board of Fertilizers Europe. Members not satisfying the requirements of the Board will have to develop an improvement program.

Audits were performed in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014 so far.