YARA Company Visit

Yara presented a totally fresh view of the agriculture industry. I used to have the stereotype that fertilizers are mainly locally produced and has little potential for expansion. However, the scale of Yara’s operations has stretched to every corner of the world and this has corrected my misconception. The made me probe further into 2 possible questions brought about by these global expansions.

Weighing the pros and cons of sending employees overseas

The strategy to send a huge number of staff overseas had a great impact on both the company and themselves. From the perspective of the staff, it is a fantastic opportunity to continue to learn on their job as they adapt to a fresh new culture. This shows that Yara is willing to ensure the continued development of the staff even after employment. However, looking at the context of the company, such a strategy may slow down the growth of Yara in the particular country where new staff is sent to. This is because it takes time for the employee to adapt to the new culture before they can start performing on their job. Thus, it might be of better interest for the company to hire locally in the new countries to accelerate the growth of Yara in a new region with staff already having a good understanding of the local culture.

Effectiveness of Yara’s Ethics Programme

The last segment of the presentation on Yara focused on the Ethics Programme of the company stated three months ago. It was interesting to note the different reactions of our class when the speaker posed a hypothetical question regarding grease payments. This simple exercise made me realized the difficulty in coming up with a standard set of protocol for ethical decisions as everyone’s personal values can differ greatly. This has made me question about the effectiveness of such an extensive Ethics Programme. I feel that if the true purpose of this programme is to ensure that the actions of the staff are in compliance with the company’s own ethical standards, the most important strategies would be a well-developed whistle-blowing scheme and harsh punishments for offenders. This is because it usually takes a third party to judge better if one’s actions is in compliance with the company’s standards. As such, an extensive whistle-blowing scheme would definitely beat developing a good system of educating the staff about the do’s and don’ts as I feel it ultimately boils downs to the personal values of an individual when making an ethical decision.

– Bernard Poh


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