In 2004, Yara International ASA emerged to become an independent company trading on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Based in Norway, Yara is the world’s largest fertilizer company as well as a leading chemical manufacturer – specializing in the production of ammonia and nitrates – with operations in 50 countries supporting sales in more than 150 countries. To sell its solutions for sustainable agriculture in all of those international markets, the company must ensure that its products are always in full compliance with a multitude of health, safety and environmental (HSE) regulations and standards.
Yara’s leadership is successfully meeting this challenge by making a strong, ongoing commitment to world-class chemical management. That commitment begins with the company’s ability to stay current on changing regulations and meet their many strict requirements by producing first-rate chemical product documentation and labeling. “A decade ago, our company had a very fragmented approach to generation of Safety Data Sheets,” said Dr. Peter Goddard, Director of Chemical Compliance & Classification at Yara. “Each individual business or manufacturing unit would produce their own. But the number and complexity of regulations we faced continued to increase so we analyzed how we were managing this information and what we were doing with it. The analysis showed we had some very big gaps and inconsistencies.”
Some of the problems Yara was experiencing involved questions about material data quality and validation. Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) generated from the company’s facilities in one part of the world were often inconsistent with those generated in another of its manufacturing plants elsewhere. Yara in its former life as “Norsk Hydro,” took a first step way back in 2002 toward a solution when it invested in IHS Intelligent Authoring software and managed regulatory content – part of the IHS Product Stewardship Solution. Yara’s team used the standalone IHS system for SDS authoring and relied on IHS for regulatory information/updates. After a few years, however, Yara’s chemical management needs continued to grow. Higher regulatory hurdles loomed ahead – including the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) – so the company needed an enterprise solution that would enable its facilities protect their local license to operate while doing business in global markets. In 2009-10, Yara’s senior management team established a high-level Project Task force to tackle the introduction of the REACH and GHS-EU legislation in Europe comprising of Yara employees and supported by Accenture. The brief included a re-examination of the software tools for the authoring of safety data sheets with the aim to create an integrated system with SAP.
- Enhance Safety Data Sheet authoring capabilities to comply with higher requirements from REACH, CLP and other mandates
- Establish new integrated chemical compliance system compatible with corporate IT environment
- Drive continuous improvement of SDS work processes and core business operations
- IHS Product Stewardship Solution with IHS Compliance Engine for SAP EHS and managed regulatory content
- Managed exponential growth of SDS volume – e.g. European market alone increased from 3,000 SDSs in 2008 to 15,000 SDSs in 2012
- Standardized and enhanced quality of Safety Data Sheets across global enterprise
- Introduced new-format Safety Data Card as quick reference tool, in response to customer requests
- Enabled transparency/accountability for audits by offering ability to track back to chemical composition and business decision justifications
- Streamlined work process by automating distribution of SDS with products and enabling operational staff to support SDS authoring