Product stewardship might be described as the "next step" in Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) management, a step that broadens SHE management beyond the factory gate to include wider issues such as security. In many respects, it is about putting into place responsible business management processes across a product's lifecycle.
International Fertilizer Association (IFA) Product Stewardship Programme is based on a  set of guiding principles for Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) management. As a demonstration of the commitment to acting as good global citizen, QAFCO embraced this initiative and achieved the recognition of "IFA Product Steward Excellence" and became one of the pioneers to attain this distinction in the international fertilizer industry.

   The 12 IFA SHE Principles
1. All members shall demonstrate leadership and management commitment with regards to safety, security, health and environmental issues in fertilizer production, distribution and sales.

 2. All members shall strive for zero harm and adverse environmental impact whilst maintaining a healthy work place for all employees and contractual staff.
 

 3. All members shall ensure that safety, security, health and environment issues are integrated into their corporate policy and receive the utmost importance and priority.
 
 4. All members shall ensure adequate financial and human resources for continual improvement of safety, security, health and the environment performance.
 

 5. All members shall comply with local safety, security, health and environmental laws and strive to embrace international laws and best practices as much as possible.
 

 6. All members shall establish and improve their safety, security, health and environmental performance through annual objectives, targets or key performance indicators.
 
 7. All members shall establish adequate procedures and controls to ensure that safety, security, health and environment are not jeopardized at any time or in any form.
 

 8. All members shall ensure that all employees and contractual staff have the right competence and are adequately trained and informed about safety, security, health and environment related to their specific activities, and shall encourage the participation of employees and contractual staff for further improvements.
 

 9. All members shall adhere to the principles of hazard and risk assessment in evaluating all their activities to ensure that safety, security, health and environment standards are continually enhanced.

 10. All members shall strive to subscribe to safety, security, health and environment management systems that will be subjected to internal and external auditing.
 

 11. All members shall voluntarily share information with regards to experiences and lessons related to safety, health and the environment with all employees and contractual staff, and with other IFA members, unless under legal constraints or if the information is of proprietary nature.
 

 12. All members shall strive to continually promote safety, security, health and environmental matters to enhance the social responsibility and accountability of the global fertilizer industry. 

The IFA Product Stewardship Programme Requirements
The IFA Product Stewardship Programme divides the requirements into six categories, five of them related to product life cycle stages and one related to Product Stewardship management System.

  1. Product Stewardship management System

  2. Product Development and Planning

  3. Sourcing and Contracting

  4. Manufacturing

  5. Supply Chain to Customer

  6. Marketing, Sales & Application

IFA Product Stewardship Certification

The Association offers its members the opportunity to have their performance evaluated by a third-party assessment agency. The assessment provides both desk reviews of self-assessments, as well as site visits in order to issue certificates of adherence on the behalf of IFA. 

There are currently three levels of recognition within the IFA scheme: 

1. IFA Protect & Sustain Pioneer
2. IFA Product Steward (Certified)
3. IFA Product Steward Excellence
 
To obtain the IFA Product Steward Excellence level of recognition, the participating company should conduct a self-assessment using the company Evaluation Tool. The evaluation will be validated by the IFA third-party assessment partner through a series of site visits to company facilities. 

 

QAFCO obtained IFA Product Steward Excellence certification following the above courses of action and finally after a third party audit conducted. QAFCO produced excellent result with an overall aggregate score of 98% .