As published by Mayo Schmidt on LinkedIn

This year had more eyes than ever on the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) – and for good reason. Climate change is undeniable and addressing the environmental and social challenges we face because of it requires critical, large-scale thinking and teamwork.

The transformation happening throughout agriculture was a theme of many important conversations at COP26. In fact, governments and businesses joined farmers and local communities to discuss ways we can further protect nature and accelerate the shift to sustainable agriculture and land use practices. It’s encouraging to see the news that 45 governments representing all continents have pledged urgent action and investment to do just that – protect nature and shift to more sustainable ways of farming.

COP26 reminds us that solutions to challenges, which affect the entire planet cannot be in the hands of one single government or sector – and that includes actions to sustainably feed our growing world. Our rising global population will reach 10 billion people by 2050 – that’s 10 billion people who deserve healthy food on their tables. At Nutrien, we have a responsibility to drive sustainable agriculture, but we know we can’t do it alone. That’s why collaboration is a key thread in Nutrien’s Feeding the Future plan, which puts forward an ambitious set of 2030 sustainability commitments, including scaling sustainable and productive agriculture on 75 million acres globally.

Unmistakably, our most important partners on the journey to feed a growing population more sustainably are farmers. To limit their climate impact, while remaining profitable, farmers need data and scientific expertise – and we connect them to it. For example, a dedicated group of Nutrien agronomists partnered with soil science and plant nutrition experts from laboratories and universities across the U.S. to create Nutrien eKonomics. The free app helps farmers gain quick and easy access to customized advice to balance soil fertility, optimize yield and ensure long term sustainable nutrient management.

One of the most exciting ways our on-the-ground collaboration with farmers is coming to life is our Carbon Program, which empowers farmers and our industry to accelerate climate-smart agriculture and soil carbon sequestration while rewarding farmers for their efforts.

After announcing our Carbon Program in 2020, we established a strong foundation of collaboration by introducing a portfolio approach to our pilots with North American farmers in 2021. To bring these pilots to life, we engaged a broad base of our key industry partners and supply chain stakeholders across North America, including American Farmland Trust, BASF, Corteva Agriscience, Ingredion, Maple Leaf Foods, PepsiCo and Syngenta, to name a few.

Together with these partners – peers and competitors alike – we’re testing various ways to incentivize farmers to adopt sustainable agricultural practices through the creation of high-quality, verified carbon assets.

We also have an eye on carbon-smart innovations for the future. Our sustainability plan includes ambitious commitments to invest further in low-carbon fertilizers, which will dramatically reduce our direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions. Nutrien is already one of the world’s largest producers of low-carbon ammonia – a journey we’ve been on for more than a decade. But we know we need to do more and we’re working together with other international leaders in this space to find new and innovative ways to do so.

One of the most exciting examples is our collaboration with EXMAR, a leading player and innovator in the transportation of liquified gas products and one of our global ammonia shipping partners. Together, we are building a low-carbon, ammonia-fueled tanker ship, which has the potential to significantly reduce Nutrien’s maritime transportation emissions. Beyond that, this also creates a path forward for the maritime industry to use low-carbon ammonia.

This past summer alone, we forged transformative new partnerships working with a group of more than two dozen international organizations on a joint study framework pursuing ammonia as an alternative marine fuel. In July, we also teamed up with the U.S. Department of Energy  and other partners to explore flexible zero-carbon ammonia production. We’re proud to work with these partners to reimagine the global ammonia supply chain – and make it more sustainable.

As the world faces a climate crisis, we have to remember that it affects all of us. Creating sustainable solutions, in agriculture and in any industry, cannot be up to a single country or company.

We plan to forge even more partnerships in the months and years to come, and I urge my colleagues across the industry, and in our governments, to do the same.

There is so much potential within agriculture and collaboration will help us realize it. The more we open ourselves up to working together as a team, the greater the possibilities for solving the urgent challenges that face us all.