Social responsibility and sustainable development

IFFCO and La Coop fédérée are driven by shared values already apparent in the governance and management model of the new organization. Cooperation and social responsibility indeed figure among IFFCO Canada’s founding principles.

Developer attentive to community concerns

From the outset, IFFCO Canada has demonstrated commitment to a corporate social responsibility (CSR) process. It is in this spirit that the company moved quickly to initiate dialogue with the host community of the future plant. IFFCO Canada’s information and public consultation program, separate from the consultation processes provided for under applicable provincial and federal legislation, has enabled the company to take into account community concerns and expectations from the project design phase forward.

This exercise has allowed IFFCO Canada to make two major planning modifications:

  • Relocate within Bécancour Port and Industrial Park to a decommissioned, remediated site (former Norsk Hydro site), thereby reducing the project’s environmental footprint;
  • Adapt technology used for the urea production process and reduce natural gas consumption by substituting with electrical power, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions considerably.

Commitments to sustainable development

Company commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) has already translated into concrete action in favour of sustainable development based on supporting corporate values and management philosophy.

Plant to be a model of sustainable development

IFFCO Canada is intent upon seizing the opportunity to make the Québec plant a model of sustainable development in the industry. Corporate intentions are detailed in the company’s 10 commitments.

Commitment 1 – IFFCO Canada is committed to providing farmers with a secure, cost-effective supply of quality fertilizer, while making Québec an important new player in the North American fertilizer industry.

Commitment 2 – IFFCO Canada will operate the new plant in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations in force. In addition, company commitment to sustainable development will draw inspiration from the 16 principles set out in the Sustainable Development Act.

Commitment 3 – IFFCO Canada will meet or exceed all applicable industry emissions standards and regulations.

Commitment 4 – IFFCO Canada will develop a plan to minimize the company’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions footprint:

  • By choosing a BATEA (best available technology economically achievable) designed to maximize the use of hydroelectricity
  • By evaluating and implementing a BATEA mechanism designed to minimize CO2 emissions
  • By seeking partnerships to recover CO2 and sustain the development of this emerging sector

Commitment 5 – IFFCO Canada will work with the industry and the scientific community to explore innovative technologies which optimize the use of natural gas to produce urea.

Commitment 6 – IFFCO Canada will develop a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program consistent with the principles of sustainable development and based upon ISO 26000 and BNQ 21000 guidelines.

Commitment 7 – IFFCO Canada will develop a management system in accordance with ISO 14000 and OSHA 18001 international standards respectively.

Commitment 8 – IFFCO Canada will promote the safe, efficient use and delivery of fertilizers to farmers, and will support the development of new farming practices, including the development of alternative fertilizers.

Commitment 9 – IFFCO Canada will strive to ensure that the project, from construction through to commissioning, positively impacts the provincial and local economies.

Commitment 10 – IFFCO Canada will maintain open dialogue with the host community to ensure that the company coexists harmoniously with its neighbours.

From commitment to concrete action

IFFCO Canada will do better than other comparable plants
in the matter of GHGs

New plants comparable to IFFCO Canada’s future Bécancour facility use about 30 MW of electricity and generate some 850 000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

The IFFCO Canada plant will use more electricity – 65 MW, and will generate 30% fewer GHGs – an estimated total of 575 000 tonnes annually.

Plant to reduce industry’s carbon footprint

Following a comparative life cycle analysis, it is estimated that the IFFCO Canada plant will achieve about a 30% reduction in GHG emissions compared with the status quo which involves importing urea rather than producing it in Québec. These findings owe to the combined impact of three factors:

  • By favouring the enhanced use of electrical power to produce urea, IFFCO Canada will use less natural gas and therefore generate fewer GHG emissions.
  • Hydroelectricity produced in Québec generates fewer GHGs than electricity produced using other forms of energy, resulting in additional savings of GHGs.
  • The Bécancour plant will be located much closer to end markets than the regions from which urea is currently sourced (Middle East, Eastern Europe), thereby reducing the transport-related carbon footprint.

This study, commissioned by IFFCO Canada, was conducted by Ernst & Young (E&Y) and validated by the Interuniversity Research Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services (CIRAIG) based at Polytechnique Montréal. CIRAIG groups together renowned scientists from across the globe.

Corporate social responsibility, an ongoing process

For IFFCO Canada, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is more than just a concept. It is a management philosophy based on values, principles and commitments which orient action in favour of sustainable development.

Based on open, sustained dialogue with all stakeholders, the CSR process integrates social, environmental and economic concerns into the management structure of the organization. Whether shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers neighbouring communities or government authorities, to name but these, each stakeholder contributes to a healthy balance within the organization and to sustainable development within and without. Such is the essence of IFFCO Canada’s CSR approach.

The integrated management of social responsibility issues, jointly shared by stakeholders and the organization, dictate IFFCO Canada’s action plan in the matter of CSR.

IFFCO Canada will be a company involved in the community

Within the framework of an INNO+ workshop organized by Écotech Québec in June 2013, IFFCO Canada met with ten or so entrepreneurs specializing in energy efficiency and new technology. Researchers from Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, active in these fields, also took part in workshop proceedings. The exercise made it possible to identify, as far upstream as the project design stage, the environmental challenges associated with a plant of this nature and innovative solutions which could be developed with the assistance of local entrepreneurs and researchers.

In the matter of safety, IFFCO Canada has already committed to take an active part in the workings of the Joint Municipal Industrial Committee (CMMI). The latter identifies the potential risks of industrial accidents with a view to better understanding their consequences and incorporating them as standard emergency procedures. Another of CMMI’s roles is to apprise the population of these potential risks and to prescribe action to be taken in the event of an emergency.

IFFCO Canada will also join the ranks of the Citizen Advisory Committee of Bécancour Industrial Park and Port (CCC–PIPB). This committee groups together representatives from the neighbouring communities and companies operating in Bécancour Port and Industrial Park. The committee provides a forum for exchange and concerted action in matters relating mainly to safety and the environment. The sharing of information and open dialogue on citizen concerns make it possible to prevent and resolve issues relating to industrial activities.