Insights in Human Resources: Sustainable Approach

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Giving back and fostering a collective spirit is a core part of many great companies. The sustainable agriculture industry naturally tends to have committed and caring people. Not only do they care for the planet, but they also care for others. Companies with a culture of care have
a special synergistic element that permeates throughout their system and into their daily work.It is the purpose that drives them; it is their “why.”

Among the most notable in the industry for giving back is Corteva. “Corteva is committed to engaging the community and giving back,” says Pamela Cuffee, Procurement Lead with Corteva. The company aims to strengthen food security from the macro level all the way to the family table by partnering with organizations around the globe. “We start with meeting the needs of our communities and embed that in all we do,” says Paige Oliver, R&D Program Sustainability Lead. Corteva partners with a multitude of organizations in donating their time, talents, and resources to meeting immediate needs specific to each region whether it be agronomic practices, water management, or building homes.

Companies with charitable initiatives benefit by improving their overall success, reputation, and long-term sustainability.

First, employee engagement is enhanced. When employees unite to make a positive impact in the community, they are motivated and feel proud of their workplace. They like that a company’s values lean toward a more positive and purpose-driven culture. Uniting in volunteering also fosters camaraderie and team building. Teams feel more connected with one another in the shared experience. Pamela adds, “Being part of employee-led volunteer groups gives an additional sense of being needed and belonging.” This is especially important in companies with remote workforces. Employees also enjoy learning new skills and growing in their own development.

Finally, recruiting new talent becomes easier as employees talk positively about their company culture. Younger generations are drawn to companies with a focus on social responsibility. This purpose-driven culture often leads to fostering creative and innovative solutions.

One such example is Corteva’s Food Security Network. In this Network, Corteva has over 140 research centers worldwide. At each research center, there is a community garden that donates fresh produce to local food pantries. Paige emphasizes, “We want to be a welcome addition to the communities in which we work.” A single garden can produce up to 10,000 lbs of produce in a growing season. These gardens have become important to the employees and are an integral part of the company’s culture of giving back. The community garden is an easy way for employees to donate up to 16 hours of paid volunteer time. In addition, employees have found physical and mental health benefits through gardening and reconnecting with nature.

Charity participation benefiting the community also fosters a positive brand reputation. Consumers favor businesses that contribute to social causes. They look for companies with values that align with their own. They develop brand loyalty and spread the word about the company to

Charity involvement differentiates a company from the competition; studies have shown that corporate giving can positively impact the bottom line through consumer loyalty and through accessing new markets through a commitment to social causes.

All companies can have charitable initiatives no matter the size. Currently, many companies in sustainable agriculture are smaller in scale and striving to generate revenue. Most small companies feel they are not able to make a difference. However, creating that mindset of a
charitable culture by donating time and talent will make a lasting positive difference to the business.

Companies recognize that a healthy society and environment are essential for long-term business sustainability. Find the common ground that unites your company and align your company values with the cause. All companies can volunteer time and talent, irrespective of being small or big, established or startup. Begin with a charitable posture on Day 1. There is always an opportunity to give back.


Corteva’s many charitable initiatives with over 500 organizations worldwide contribute to the well-being of society and ensure a better future for everyone. In my conversations with team members, they are enthusiastic to work together to make a positive impact. They also show tremendous pride for their company as the company’s values align with their values. Since the start of community gardens, they have donated approx. 100,000 lbs of produce to local food pantries. In 2022 alone, they donated over $10M and 28,000 volunteer hours. It is an amazing accomplishment to give back to the communities through volunteer collaboration and teamwork.

Congratulations, Corteva! Your efforts in charitable giving while building a sustainable company are truly commendable.