Fertiliser giant, Yara, has announced today (January 10) that it is to wind down its sourcing of potash from Belarus.
The Norwegian company said the move follows supply-chain issues as a result of sanctions currently placed on the country.
Last year, the European Union, US, UK and other countries announced the sanctions in response to “continued human rights abuses" by Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko and his regime.
In a statement, Yara said that it has "a strong commitment to universal human rights and condemns all forms of repression and human rights violations".
The company said it has sought to use its presence in Belarus "to promote occupational safety and human rights" with the support of trade unions and human-rights organisations.
However, it said the current sanctions on the eastern European country have reduced its ability to positively influence the safety and well-being of the workers in the state-owned company, Belaruskali.
The Norweigan firm had bought between 10-15% of the Belaruskali potash for complex fertilisers (NPK) and blends for food production mainly in Europe and South America.
Yara’s sourcing from Belarus was in compliance with the sanctions but the withdrawal of essential services in other parts of the supply chain have led to this decision.
“For Yara, this is a disappointing development. We remain strongly committed to the safety and well-being of Belaruskali’s workers.
Despite the wind down of potash sourcing, Yara aims to continue the industrial safety programme initiated in 2021, in close cooperation with the independent trade union in Belaruskali and in full compliance with applicable sanctions,” said Svein Tore Holsether, president and CEO of Yara International.
The company said regular dialogue with management and unions had laid the groundwork for lasting improvements for Belaruskali workers, including machinery protection and trade union involvement.
Yara is hoping that this work will continue despite its wind-down of sourcing activities, which is expected to be completed by April 1, next.
The statement said the company will "continue to monitor for any changes in the situation, including sanctions, as part of its ongoing sourcing operations".