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CF Fertilisers - certification of product carbon footprints

CF Fertilisers gains certification to differentiate its products and increase customer loyalty


CF Fertilisers is Britain's only major fertiliser manufacturer and a major producer of process chemicals. The company produces around 35% of Britain's fertiliser requirement from sites at Ince in Cheshire and Billingham on Teesside.

The food chain is responsible for between 20-30% of the UK's consumption-based carbon emissions, and fertiliser, in production and use is a crucial link within this chain. CF Fertilisers has been working to cut carbon at the manufacturing stage and gained independent certification from the Carbon Trust that ensures that the carbon footprints calculated for its fertiliser products are accurate and robust.

Consequently, the company can communicate the strong environmental credentials of its products to customers throughout the food supply chain; to farmers, food manufacturers and retailers. The company can now differentiate its products against competitors, communicate that it is an environmentally responsible brand and increase customer loyalty.

By working with the Carbon Trust, we believe we have calculated product carbon footprints with strong credibility. This means our customers and suppliers can have confidence in the data. We believe robust measurements are vital as food chain suppliers and retailers want evidence of carbon footprinting from raw ingredients to the supermarket shelf.

Deborah Pritchard Jones, Public Affairs Director, CF Fertilisers

Elevating CF Fertilisers' brand against competitors

As well as achieving certification for the carbon footprints of its fertiliser products and process chemicals, CF Fertilisers has worked with the Carbon Trust to certify the reductions that have been achieved in these. As a result, some of the company's products, including its largest selling fertiliser Nitram®, will now carry the Carbon Trust's Carbon Reduction Label, demonstrating real greenhouse gas reductions and showing a commitment to make further reductions in the future. CF Fertilisers can use the label to differentiate and elevate its brand and products against competitors.  

In particular CF Fertilisers has acted on cutting nitrous oxide emissions from nitric acid production - a key ingredient of ammonium nitrate fertilisers. The installation of new abatement technology at its Billingham manufacturing site,led to the emissions of nitrous oxide falling from 1.9 t CO2e/t acid to less than 0.1 t CO2e/t acid. Nitrous oxide is around 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

CF Fertilisers' Public Affairs Director, Deborah Pritchard Jones, said: "The abatement technology removes over 90% of nitrous oxide produced during nitric acid manufacture. So, in the first year of operation we have removed emissions equivalent to over 1.1 million tonnes of CO2. This means that, overall, we have achieved a 40% reduction in the carbon footprint of our leading ammonium nitrate product Nitram®."

Further benefits: revenue and efficiency savings

CF Fertilisers is driving further efficiency savings across its operations on top of those gained through nitrous oxide abatement. They are also committed to working with farmers to support the efficient use of fertiliser through customer support and a range of products and services.  For the farmer, efficient use of fertiliser is key. By optimising nutrient use, the farmer can achieve the desired crop yield and quality, which has a direct benefit on revenue whilst potentially minimising the environmental impact of growing crops.

An event was hosted at the Royal Institution to announce the carbon footprints of CF Fertilisers' range of process chemicals and sixteen branded fertiliser products. Speaking at this event, Michael Fallon, the Minister for Business and Enterprise, commented:

"This launch has only been made possible by CF Fertilisers' determination to reduce its carbon footprint and through a long-standing engagement with Government on what is a shared commitment to reduce the UK carbon emissions… By using Carbon Trust methodology, CF Fertilisers has generated sufficiently detailed numbers to act as a sound and genuine baseline. The company's commitment to a sustainable future will be invaluable, both at a national level and within the agricultural sector which is committed to its own Greenhouse Gas Action Plan."

The Carbon Trust's Managing Director - Certification, Darran Messem, said:

"By measuring the carbon footprints of its products, and getting them independently certified by the Carbon Trust, CF Fertilisers is doing more than helping to reduce emissions. The company is demonstrating leadership at one of the earliest stages of the agricultural process. This has the potential to cause a ripple effect throughout the fertiliser industry, farming and later stages of production and use."

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