Product stewardship is a key focus of the fertilizer industry
. It refers to the industry’s Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) management, and takes it beyond factory’s gates, in cooperation with suppliers, transporters and retailers. In many respects, it is about putting into place responsible business management processes across a product's lifecycle.
All IFA Members have adopted the 12 IFA Safety, Health and Environment Principles
, which commits them, among others, to “establish and improve their safety, security, health and environmental performance through annual objectives, targets or key performance indicators”.
IFA therefore proposes a certification to its members, called “Protect and Sustain
”, which presents a practical framework for implementing product stewardship practices
– while providing the necessary reference material and the tools to aid implementation and to measure the progress achieved.
The certification process takes between three to five months. Six areas are examined: management system, product development and planning, sourcing and contractor management, manufacturing techniques, supply chain to customer, as well as marketing, sales and application.
Protect & Sustain was developed by IFA with independent auditors DNV-GL and SGS, and has become the de facto global product stewardship standard for fertilizers
. As of 2016, 37 fertilizer producers (N, P, K) in 45 countries have been certified with Protect & Sustain! Protect & Sustain has also been made available for non-producer IFA Members.
In addition, every two years IFA gives its Green Leaf Award
to a Protect & Sustain certified production complex (single site) for its outstanding performance in safety, health and environment (SHE) in fertilizer production. The Green Leaf Award is an integral part of IFA’s Product Stewardship.