The Green Transition of Fertilizers

Magnus A. Braaten & Tobias Dahm

Student thesis: Master thesis


As the world’s population grows, the agriculture sector and food industry face a significant challenge, producing more food while reducing its climate impact. This challenge requires the value chain to work together to adopt sustainable solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ultimately helping the industry to achieve substantial carbon reductions.
The aim of the research is to assess how green fertilizer can be an enabler for the food industry to reach its climate pledges towards 2050. The research explores how the dynamics between international governments, institutions, and contingencies of a highly complex value chain influence a widescale adoption of green fertilizer, and what actions need to be taken in the future.
The research design in the study is exploratory, with a combination of an abductive and deductive approach. This choice is based on the authors’ wish to explore the complex dynamics of green fertilizer and the drivers behind its development. More notably, as green fertilizer is an under-researched topic, it was important to have as broad a perspective as possible. The research is written in collaboration with Yara International, a global fertilizer company, which is used as an illustrative case. The data foundation is based on qualitative data, which is the ground pillar for the findings. In addition, a comprehensive search and collection of secondary data has been utilized to choose relevant theoretical frameworks and concepts, which resulted in the creation of a theoretical model tailored to the research. Followingly, primary data collection of six expert interviews has been conducted, coded, and analyzed. Consequently, data and theory have been triangulated, resulting in a comprehensive discussion of the findings, suggestions for future research, and an answer to the research question.
A widespread adoption of green fertilizers has the chance to massively reduce the agricultural carbon footprint in the food industry. If all fertilizer practices were to be switched to green fertilizers, the world’s greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by 1%. The findings point toward this as a possibility, however, there are still major challenges that need to be addressed.

EducationsMSc in Finance and Strategic Management, (Graduate Programme) Final ThesisMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2023
Number of pages134
SupervisorsHenrik Johannsen Duus