Yara stops buying potassium from Belarus – E24

The fertilizer company is abandoning its purchases of potassium from Belarus, but says the company will continue to support the country’s trade unions.

CEO Svein Tore Holsether at Yara.

Yara said so in a post on Monday.

Yara writes that the company has worked to “promote human rights and improved health, safety and environment (HSE) for employees of supplier company Belaruskali.”

However, the sanctions against Belarus have had a “negative effect on the supply chain”, writes Yara, who is thus “forced to phase out the purchase of potassium”.

Settlement of purchases will be completed by April 1, Yara reports.

The United States and Canada joined forces in December on new sanctions against Belarus, which Norway has also signed on to, according to TB.

Will continue HSE cooperation

“The consequences of the sanctions against Belarus are that Yara’s ability to positively impact the safety and working conditions of Belaruskali workers is reduced,” Holsether said in a statement Monday.

– We have been heavily involved in this work and that is why
disappointing development. However, Yara maintains his ambition to continue his collaboration with Belaruskali within the HSE, which was established in 2021, in close collaboration with the independent trade union of Belaruskali and in full respect of the sanctions in force, he says.

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Yara writes that the company had a dialogue with Belaruskali management and trade unions, at the same time a program was introduced to strengthen HSE in the Belarusian company.

The fertilizer company also stresses that it “complies with applicable laws and regulations”, and that potassium purchases “are fully compliant with applicable sanctions”.

Yara says the reason for the shutdown is that other parts of the value chain are shutting down services important for potassium exports.

Asked Yara to break with Belarus

In recent years, the Belarusian opposition has repeatedly demanded Yara to break cooperation with Belarusian potassium supplier Belaruskali, as in 2020.

In December 2020, Yara called on the Belarusian company not to punish workers who went on strike, and just last week the country’s exiled leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya came out and demanded Yara to break up with Belaruskali.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaja leads the resistance struggle against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko from her exile in neighboring Lithuania, and was in Oslo in August where she met Yara boss Svein Tore Holsether.

Holster then said the company would make a decision on Yara’s operations in Belarus by December.

Alec Dittman

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