Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC) President and International Fertiliser Association (IFA) Chairman Dr. Abdulrahman Jawahery inaugurated the Global Safety Summit organized by the IFA in Amman, Jordan, from March 27 to 30.
Speaking at the inauguration, Dr. Jawahery said the fertilizer industry would always be his first passion. He added the industry has an opportunity to achieve the top UN goals for sustainability: eradicating poverty and hunger and promoting health and well-being.
He said the industry continues to be respected in the global arena for its emphasis on new technologies, safety, health and corporate social responsibility.
Dr. Jawahery briefed the audience on some of his ideas and expectations regarding the industry in terms of safety, health and environment practices. He said these should be focused on the future of health and safety management in this strategic sector.
Dr. Jawahery spoke about the world’s hunger epidemic that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions of people. He said 842 million people around the world do not have enough food to live a reasonably healthy life and added women account for 60 per cent of the world's hungry.
He said food insecurity and hunger represents a huge global challenge as the world's population is projected to grow to 9 billion by 2050.
Speaking about the challenges facing the fertiliser industry, Dr. Jawahery said figures indicate the magnitude of the complex. He pointed out that feeding the world is one of the most important and crucial challenges. “The availability of cultivable land continues to decline as food demand increases and population grows.
He said helping maximize crop yield while protecting air and water resources is a continuing challenge in the fertiliser industry.
Dr. Jawahery stressed on the use of nutrients that may have negative effects on the environment. He said the use of a few nutrients needed by plants may lead to the same negative effects and pointed to the issue of greenhouse gas emissions.
He said although the industry may be the reason for a fraction of total greenhouse gas emissions, all stakeholders in the food value chain must continue to be involved in reducing these.
He praised the important role played by the IFA in taking this initiative and said it had contributed effectively to addressing some of the most complex and challenging global issues. He stressed the fertiliser industry had always shown great interest in health and safety standards which, in turn, resulted in a clear record of safety.
He said there have been very few accidents in the history of the fertiliser industry, thanks to the emphasis on safety in most fertilizer companies, which enhance safety infrastructure by adding safety manuals, product safety papers and inspection recommendations on health, safety and the environment.
Dr. Jawahery spoke about the role of the IFA in supporting health, safety and the environment. “This has been an integral part of these high standards. Since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, we have launched a successful partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme in preparing publications that draw attention to environmental issues.
He said more than 17 years ago, about 13 companies belonging to the IFA applied the ISO 14000 standards to manage and improve their responsibilities in the field of health, safety and the environment.
Dr. Jawahery said the IFA would continue to lead the way in initiatives for safety, health and the environment. “We must constantly ask ourselves how we can be sustainable in the long term, and how our products contribute to supporting the sustainable development goals of the wider society.”
He said they should strive to contribute to food security at the local, national and international levels and help prevent soil degradation to achieve global environmental goals such as combating desertification as well as ensuring that any negative environmental impact of fertiliser production and use is eliminated.
Dr. Jawahery also stressed the importance of continuing to focus on production processes and adopting new technologies, including improved product development, increased nutrient efficiency, including further research and product development, and ensuring that the full value chain of fertilisers and retailers is involved in capacity building.