28 September 2023

Action behind impact: Celebrating UN SDG flag week

Maud de Vries, Chief Legal and Human Capital Officer, looks at the significance of the UN SDG week and celebrates the progress OCI Global has made towards the SDGs in the past year in her latest article.

Hanh Nguyen, Maud de Vries, Alex Doll and Craig Pulver marking the UN’s SDG flag week

This year’s UN SDG flag week marks eight years since the introduction of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In that time, there has been progress towards these important ambitions, which provide a framework for the world to achieve a better future for all by 2030. However, there is still much more work to do. We are increasingly seeing the impact of climate change around us, and discrimination and structures that disproportionately impact those least represented in global decision-making still exists.    

However, it is encouraging that many of the changes we need to make have been identified and movement is happening. OCI Global is committed to being part of that positive movement and in the last eight years we have transformed our business, overtly aligning our commercial strategy with environmental and social goals, and adapting our governance in line with this. Today, I want to reflect on some of the ways we contribute to progress towards those SDGs most relevant to us – to celebrate the hard work of our team and partners who have made that progress possible, and to look towards the future too.

SDG 2: Zero Hunger

With the global population expected to reach 10 billion by 2050, and with the negative impact of climate change on global food systems, food security is under threat.

As a leading producer and distributor of nitrogen fertilizers and crop nutrition products, OCI plays a critical role in supporting the agricultural industry. Last year alone, we sold over 8.5 million metric tons of nitrogen fertilizers, helping to increase crop yields, maximize soil health and improve food quality all over the world.

Partnerships are vital in reducing the climate impact of agriculture and have been fundamental to many achievements in the last year. In May we announced a new partnership with NuStar to build a pipeline transporting ammonia in a safe and sustainable way from the Gulf Coast to the Midwest to meet agricultural demands and provide US farmers with a stable, high-quality source of nitrogen fertilizer products.

In March, we announced the first of two partnerships to decarbonize food chains with our lower carbon fertilizers, with Simpsons Malt, who took the first UK shipment of our low carbon nitrogen fertilizer in March as part of a project to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of malting barley and distilling wheat. Then in April we shared a collaboration with AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG and Dossche Mills, we’re pioneering the low carbon production of bread and other staple foods with flour produced using wheat grown with our lower-carbon calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN), which is certified by ISCC Plus.

And our commitment to zero hunger goes beyond our products. We work with local and global partners to provide meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises. Last year we funded 370,000 meals for people impacted in Ukraine and Turkey through our partnership with World Central Kitchen (WCK), and we have provided more than 400,000 meals through the Southeast Texas Food Bank since 2015.

SDG 5: Gender Equality

We have published goals and introduced specific internal practices to ensure we foster an inclusive culture at OCI. This includes improving gender diversity at all levels of our organization. We have introduced mentoring of women by senior leadership to channel professional development for those already in the industry. And we provide opportunities for young people, including schemes that specifically target girls and young women, to be introduced to our industry through work experience and internships, as well as supporting charities and local education authorities to improve access to facilities. Despite operating in a traditionally male-dominated industry, we managed to increase our female representation in non-technical roles to 32% in 2022 (compared to 8.1% in 2021), and we are making good progress towards our goal to have 25% female representation in senior leadership by 2025, with women in 21.8% of our leadership roles last year.

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Our two core products, ammonia, and methanol, comprise over half of hydrogen demand today, and are critical to global decarbonization efforts. We focus on supporting hard-to-abate sectors, such as agriculture, industrial manufacturing, the power sector, shipping, and road fuels to decarbonize.

Our green methanol provides a 65-90% greenhouse gas emissions reduction versus the fossil comparator, based on a life cycle basis, and this year, we have announced new partnerships with Unibarge, X-Press Feeder Lines and Maersk as the marine industry, which is responsible for 3% of global GHG emissions, recognizes the importance of green methanol as a lower carbon fuel. Earlier this month, the world’s first methanol powered containership completed its maiden voyage, proving the efficacy, safety, and readiness of green methanol as the shipping fuel of choice today for maritime decarbonization. The ship was fueled by OCI HyFuels green methanol throughout its maiden voyage from Korea to Copenhagen with our team working closely with ports, regulators, and other partners to make this historic journey a reality.

We also continue to expand our low carbon and renewable product supply, with new projects including our blue ammonia plant, in partnership with Linde, which will be the largest blue ammonia facility to come onstream in Texas. Only this month we announced two new initiatives in Texas: a new partnership with New Fortress Energy who will supply us with green hydrogen to make green ammonia, and the doubling of our green methanol capacity in response to the growing demand for green methanol from numerous high emissions industries, including road transport, shipping and industrial. We are also decarbonizing our ammonia production in Iowa through a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project that will capture 1.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year.

SDG 13: Climate Action

Sustainability is a driving force in our business, and it shapes our decisions and actions every day, starting with our own operations and the energy we use to run them.

We are committed to reducing our Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emission intensity by 20% by 2030 and aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. We’re making good progress so far. Factoring in growth projects that have reached Final Investment Decision (FID) and other initiatives such as our target to purchase 100% electricity from renewable sources by 2030, we are on track to exceed our target and reduce our GHG intensity by 27% by 2030 (versus our 2019 baseline).

We are working with trusted partners in the energy and clean technology space, such as Scatec, Engie, Masdar, and RWE on various renewable and low carbon hydrogen developments to ensure we continue to make an impact.

Looking ahead – SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals

This is just a snapshot of the progress we’ve made in the last year, and there are many more projects, partnerships, and products that I haven’t mentioned. But this is no time for complacency. First and foremost, we need worldwide collaboration between industries, governments, and the public. Change cannot happen in a vacuum, and it cannot happen overnight, but by working together we can work towards a cleaner future sooner. The UN SDGs provide a valuable framework to make that happen. Now is the time for action towards these goals.

This article was originally published on Maud’s LinkedIn here.

Subscribe to email updates

Subscribe for news and stories about our business, industries, and products.

Thank you for subscribing.

Lines Effect