We have continued to intensify our focus on environmental stewardship by pursuing our 2020 targets and introducing an Environmental Awareness Campaign for our employees in 2018.

Our Approach to Climate Change

Compass Minerals is, at our core, a minerals company. Because we rely on natural resources throughout our operations, it is incumbent upon us to be good stewards of these resources. In addition, the markets for many of our products are dependent on climate conditions.

We believe that climate change is a critical challenge in our era. We acknowledge the societal and ecological risks posed by a changing climate, which can create challenges for local communities and increase stress on Earth’s systems and natural resources. Furthermore, the markets we serve are subject to effects of a changing climate. From a farmer using our plant nutrition products whose livelihood is dependent upon growing conditions to cities that rely on our deicing products, our customers are also subject to a changing climate.

Compass Minerals aims to capitalize on available climate-related opportunities by exploring innovative ways of identifying synergies between improved operational and environmental performance, including reducing carbon emissions, and encouraging our vendors and other partners to do the same. We are aware of the opportunities that are made available to Compass Minerals through global food and water security, air quality and healthy ecosystems. Moving forward, we will continue to include climate change and adaption as one of many important lenses through which we assess business decisions.

Our commitment to environmental sustainability includes a range of activities from educating our customers on the proper storage of deicing salt, to using higher-efficiency, lower carbon footprint equipment in our operations, to creating new avian habitats as we champion the value of biodiversity. In addition, we are committed to educating our employees on a broad range of sustainability topics in order to promote environmental stewardship and innovative thinking, which we expect will generate powerful sustainability initiatives across our company.

“Our customers, be they road superintendents in Ontario or Michigan, almond growers in California, or soybean and corn farmers in Brazil, can take heart in the fact that a key focus of our product innovation is on reducing environmental impact and increasing efficiency.”

-Brad Griffith, Chief Commercial Officer

Progress on Targets

We have instituted multiple investments which are expected to assist us in achieving our GHG emissions intensity and energy intensity targets. While several of our sites have individually reached their 2020 targeted reductions, this is the second year in which our consolidated results have been negatively impacted by reduced production rates compared to the three-year baseline from which we established our 2020 target. In addition, our 2020 targets do not include results from our Brazil operations, which were acquired late in September 2016. We have initiated an internal review of our key metric targets and expect to provide revised targets in our 2019 update. These revised targets will include our Brazil operations and take into consideration the impact of production variability of our operations, which can distort intensity performance in the short term.

Target Baseline 2016 2017 2018
Energy Intensity
Reduce by at least 4% 118.9 kWh/ton 146 kWh/ton 135 kWh/ton 139 kWh/ton
GHG Emissions Intensity
Scope 1: Reduce by at least 7% 18.4 kg/ton 22.5 kg/ton 20.8 kg/ton 21.5 kg/ton
Scope 1+2: Reduce by at least 8% 26.9 kg/ton 31.7 kg/ton 29.1 kg/ton 30.1 kg/ton
Fresh Water Intensity
Reduce by 5% 1,111 gallons/ton 1,054 gallons/ton 1,261 gallons/ton 1,686 gallons/ton
Note: The baseline figures are derived from a 3-year average of our intensity metrics from 2013–2015. Denominators for units of measurement are per ton of production. This data does not yet incorporate our Brazil operations.

Climate Change & Energy Use

Though we generate GHG emissions through the production and transport of our products, our emissions and energy consumption levels are considerably less than many minerals and specialty chemicals producers due to our large solar evaporation facility in Utah. This facility produces the vast majority of our sulfate of potash (SOP) and approximately 14% of our salt products, on average.

In addition, recent investments in our production facilities are expected to drive further efficiencies and reductions.

  • Continuous mining and haulage at our largest salt mine, located in Ontario, Canada has materially improved underground air quality and reduced use of fossil fuels
  • We have invested to increase the efficiency and expand the capacity of our SOP production facility in Utah through upgrades to our processing plant and our evaporation ponds
31% Four of 13 sites have already reached their GHG emissions and energy intensity targets
Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2018 % (estimated)
Scope 1
(direct – fuel combustion)
Scope 2
(indirect – electricity use)
Scope 3 (indirect – 3rd party) 58%
Total 689K MT CO2e
Notes: This progress does not yet incorporate our Brazil operations and GHG intensity is measured against production volume.

To learn more about our approach and performance around climate change and energy use, please see pages 31-33 and 37 in our full GRI/SASB report.

The Importance of Water

Water plays an essential role in our production processes and the availability of clean water is critical for our customers and communities. Our approach to water use focuses on minimizing the consumption of fresh water, ensuring that clean water is being returned to local watersheds or municipal systems and addressing site-specific water concerns.

Fortunately, most of the water we use is derived from saltwater sources and does not negatively impact fresh water availability in the watersheds where we operate.

At the same time, salt mining, evaporation and storage processes, as well as salt product use, all carry risks of salt contamination of aquifers and aquatic ecosystems. We work to mitigate potential impacts through process improvements as well as education and training on the responsible use of our products by our customers.

59% Increase in water recycling since 2017 78% Water recycled in 2018, up from 66% in 2017

To learn more about our approach and performance around water use, please see pages 33-35 in our full GRI/SASB report.


Several of our facilities are adjacent to protected areas of high biodiversity value. For example, our Ogden facility, where we produce salt and magnesium chloride, is located near the Great Salt Lake in Utah, which is migratory stop for millions of native birds, brine shrimp and other species. Our mine in Goderich, Ontario, sits at the mouth of the Maitland River, which is home to a rich diversity of aquatic life, including healthy populations of smallmouth bass, chinook salmon and rainbow trout. It’s also an important migratory bird route and home to several provincially and nationally rare species including the queen snake, eastern hog-nosed snake, several turtle species and the wavy-rayed lampmussel.

Since these regions provide important habitats and biodiversity, we seek to minimize our impacts and actively support measures to protect this biodiversity. Specifically, at the Great Salt Lake, we have partnered with the FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake to help ensure that the expansion of our operations avoid areas critical for biodiversity and to facilitate environmental restoration while creating additional avian habitat.

Sustainability and Employee Engagement

In order for Compass Minerals to continue building a successful sustainability program, we must increase employee engagement around sustainability topics. This engagement can generate new ideas for reducing our environmental impacts and increase overall awareness about how our actions at work and beyond impact our environmental future.

Celebrating Earth Week

Our first Earth Day celebration became our first “Earth Week,” taking place from Earth Day, April 22 to Arbor Day, April 27. We reached out to all our North American and U.K. sites for volunteer “environmental champions” to plan site-specific initiatives for the week. The success of our first Earth Week sparked enthusiasm and excitement across the company. Many of the employees who planned Earth Week initiatives asked for more ways to get involved with environmental stewardship at work and to learn more about sustainability topics, making it very much an employee-driven campaign.

100% All of our sites participated in Earth Day events in 2018
Environmental Awareness Campaign

Responding to employee enthusiasm surrounding Earth Week, we determined it was the perfect opportunity to launch an environmental education program—and the company-wide Environmental Awareness Campaign (EAC) was born. The EAC provides quarterly educational opportunities for our employees focused on key sustainability topics in an effort to deepen commitment to our sustainability goals at the grassroots level and encourage environmentally friendly behaviors at home.

The EAC’s objectives include:

  • Increasing environmental knowledge and competence
  • Turning a sustainable business model into “business-as-usual”
  • Making environmental awareness visible inside and outside of our organization
  • Encouraging every employee to become a sustainability champion

Our first EAC featured a deep dive into the consequences of plastic pollution including important suggestions on how to reduce plastic consumption and use in our day-to-day activities. As part of the awareness campaign, eight Compass Minerals sites planned clean-up events.

EAC topics on tap for 2019:

Food Waste Biodiversity Sustainability 101 Energy Conservation

Supporting Sustainable Agriculture

Agriculture globally is expected to become increasingly challenged in the decades ahead, as a result of growing populations, limits on arable-land availability and increasing climate stress. All of these developments point to the need for growers to employ innovative measures to increase crop yield while decreasing their own environmental footprints.

Compass Minerals’ Plant Nutrition business has a broad, innovative portfolio of products that can help growers globally achieve this dual objective of better yields with a reduced environmental impact. We keep these considerations front of mind as we continue to shape and develop a portfolio of crop inputs that can improve farming practices, like spoon-feeding crops just the amount of nutritional inputs needed, while also enabling next generation products with lower environmental footprints.

Season-Long Plant Nutrition

In order to increase crop yields on a global scale, crop inputs must be developed with the 4R’s in mind which ensures the right source of essential nutrients at the right rate, at the right time, in the right place. Use efficiency is at the cornerstone of our R&D process when we consider how and when our products will be used across the growing season. In both North and South America our product development has focused on tailored season-long plant nutrition systems using our proprietary products. Our tailored crop systems are designed with the right essential plant nutrients in mind from plant to harvest, while also enabling more sustainable farming practices and products – when and where they are needed most.

Nutrient Efficiency by Design

Within our plant nutrition portfolio are important products that can drive significant benefits to growers from both a yield and sustainability perspective. Wolf Trax™ products, which are dry dispersible powders mixed with dry nitrogen, phosphate or potash, offer growers the opportunity to just apply micronutrients at rates based on plant needs for each specific growing season, measured by crop removal. This may help reduce the number of passes a farmer may need to make, thus reducing the farmers GHG footprint, and or the amount of total fertilizer needed throughout the growing season.

Our ProAcqua® products provide growers a similarly efficient option with the next generation in soluble specialty crop nutrition. The ability of these products to easily dissolve and remain in solution means these products can be easily absorbed by plants and can be used in combination with other fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. As a result, these products can not only increase yields for growers, they increase efficiency in an environmentally friendly fashion.

Customers rely on NuTrax P+™ to manage phosphorus levels where algae blooms and other environmental challenges pose a concern. Nu-Trax P+ puts growers in charge of delivering the nutrition crops need for a strong start while also carefully managing rates of phosphorus, zinc and other nutrients essential for early season growth. With patented EvenCoat Technology, Nu-Trax P+ is coated onto a dry fertilizer blends. This technology allows growers to meet the need of their crops for phosphorus at much lower application rates.

Learn more about our plant nutrition portfolio.

A Sustainable Salt Business Helps Keep People Safe

As a leading producer of highway, consumer and professional deicers, we take pride in keeping people safe on icy roads and sidewalks through innovative and environmentally responsible products. In addition to reducing the risks of injuries, our products help keep communities open and thriving commercially, even when severe winter weather hits.

Several of our deicing products feature the Safer Choice label – a distinction awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to products that exemplify safety, both in protecting consumer health and the environment. These particular products incorporate magnesium chloride, which we produce through a low-carbon footprint solar evaporation process at our Utah facility. These products clear roads of snow and ice at lower temperatures and with less overall product applied. This, in turn, reduces the amount of chloride entering the natural environment from roadway maintenance.

Salt also is an essential nutrient for both humans and animals, and we provide an array of products for ingredient and culinary use, as well as for animal nutrition. All of our facilities producing animal nutrition products comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act, and two (Ogden and Cote Blanche) are Safe Feed/Safe Food certified.

Salt plays an important role in conserving energy and improving the quality of water we use in our everyday lives through water care products such as water softener salt and saltwater pool salt. Our R&D team focuses on innovating to reduce the amount of chlorides discharged into the environment.

Many of our salt products are certified by NSF International (NSF), an organization that develops public-health standards and certification programs to help protect the world’s food, water, consumer products and environment. Several of our products are NSF/ANSI 60 certified, a standard for drinking water treatment products, or NSF/ANSI 50, a standard for pool, spa and other recreational water products.

Additionally, we have increased our focus on sustainable packaging practices for our consumer products. In partnering with industry experts, we’ve reduced the amount of corrugate needed for product shipping and increased our use of packaging with at least 20% recycled material content.

Learn more about our salt products.

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