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Phosphorus Sustainability Challenge calls on organizations to lower their phosphorus footprint

The Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance launched a new sustainability initiative to raise awareness about the role of phosphorus in global food security and water quality.

April 24, 2019



The Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance launched a new sustainability initiative to raise awareness about the role of phosphorus in global food security and water quality. The Phosphorus Sustainability Challenge is a call to action for organizations of any size and type—public and private companies, non-profit organizations and government entities—to commit to lower their phosphorus footprint. Participating organizations will receive public recognition for their leadership and see how their own efforts contribute to larger scale sustainability impacts.

Phosphorus is a valuable, finite resource that’s used in crop fertilizers and animal feed around the world. As demand for food rises, so does the demand for phosphorus, yet phosphate rock reserves are non-renewable and often phosphorus is used inefficiently. More sustainable use, recovery, and recycling of phosphorus would lead to a more secure global food system.

Phosphorus also plays a role in global water security since it can be a devastating water pollutant. Increased phosphorus use has led to degraded water quality in rivers, streams, lakes, and coastal oceans, as phosphorus run-off creates toxic algal blooms and dead zones. Better phosphorus management can help protect the health of rivers, lakes, and oceans.

“We have launched this initiative because we want people to understand that phosphorus is one of the primary pollutants that damage water quality and that it\'s an invaluable global resource that we\'re letting slip right through our fingers,” said Jim Elser, Director of the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance. “Our increased need for phosphorus to feed more people means we must do a better job of managing phosphorus or else those same people won\'t have clean drinking water. Whether big or small, we welcome any commitment that leads to improving phosphorus sustainability.”

To participate, organizations must submit their commitments on the Phosphorus Sustainability Challenge website, www.psustainabilitychallenge.org. Commitments must be new, exceed regulatory compliance requirements, and address at least one of these key phosphorus sustainability goals, which includes: Use phosphorus in animal feeding operations, including aquaculture, more judiciously.

Commitments will be reviewed by the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance to ensure they address one or more of the challenge goals and that they meet the spirit of the challenge. Organizations are also able to subject their commitments to third-party or second-party verification and submit proof of verification to the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance.

Organizations that join the challenge will be featured on the Phosphorus Sustainability Challenge website and promoted on the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance’s social media platforms.

The public can join the conversation on social media using the hashtag: #PhosphorusChallenge.

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