What are stakeholder views and needs for achieving phosphorus sustainability?

Khara Grieger, Ashton Merck, Alison Deviney, Anna Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Our society depends on the effective management of phosphorus (P). Phosphorus is a key component of agricultural fertilizers to improve crop yields, and also plays a critical role in many industrial processes and consumer products. In the past decade, there have been numerous calls for innovative approaches to manage P more sustainably, as it is a nonrenewable resource that can adversely impact aquatic ecosystems from runoff and inefficiencies in P use. To develop more sustainable solutions that will ultimately be adopted, diverse stakeholder perspectives must be recognized, including those in industry, government, academia, non-governmental organizations, and other civil groups. This study responds to this need by identifying stakeholder views, needs, concerns, and challenges regarding P sustainability. An online survey was developed and deployed to individuals identified as P sustainability experts and professionals in the U.S. and abroad. Based on responses from 96 stakeholder participants from a range of sectors, areas of expertise, and geographies, we found that the vast majority of stakeholders considered current P use to be unsustainable and were very concerned about the ability to manage P sustainably. Stakeholder participants did not distinguish between urgent and long-term challenges, and perceived financial and regulatory issues to be of greatest importance. Stakeholder participants expressed a range of needs to improve P management systems, including improved management practices, new technologies, enhanced regulations, and better approaches for engagement. Outcomes from this work can help inform future research, engagement, and policy priorities to ensure sustainable P management solutions based on stakeholder-identified perspectives and needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-125
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironment Systems and Decisions
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • Challenges
  • Perceptions
  • Phosphorus sustainability
  • Stakeholders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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