How We Affect Communities
As we engage with community leaders and residents, we identify what works well in addition to finding opportunities for improvement. We strive to be a good neighbor throughout every stage of our presence in a community.
What We’re Doing
Agrium believes in supporting the communities in which we live, work and conduct business. In this spirit, we strive to build and maintain positive relationships within our communities. We focus our support in areas of youth, civic arts & culture, health and wellness, and environmental stweardship. Because a large percentage of our business activities take place in or near small towns, we often work with customers and suppliers to help us make a difference.
We plan on being part of our communities for the long term. It is this long-term thinking that we incorporate into our approach to community engagement and charitable community investments.
We convene Community Advisory Panels (CAP) for our Redwater and Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta facilities because they are located in areas with extensive industrial activities and growing populations. CAP participants provide insight into what is going well or poorly in citizen interactions with Agrium and often identify solutions to local issues. We also collaborate with other businesses, community residents and governments on emergency preparedness committees.
In some locations we use Community Advisory Panels, although in others we liaise with community leaders and host open houses for residents. We regularly conduct door-to-door visits with neighbors of our production facilities. We offer tours at many of our facilities to students, customers and other groups. We believe that through open dialogue we can maintain a healthy relationship with members of the surrounding community and should a crisis occur we all know what to do.
When we open, expand or close a facility we work to include community residents in this process through dialogue with community advisory groups, community meetings and open houses. We also work with local government officials and industry where appropriate.
Growing the Next Generation
Many of our educational support programs outside of our business are directed at youth. We are strong advocates for farm safety and leadership development. Working with our industry associations we have developed an independent curriculum-based website for youth at Growing the Next Generation to give students and teachers better tools and to continue to dialogue with both.
Agrium is teaching the next generation about growing healthy plants and where food comes from through Seed Survivor. Seed Survivor is a curriculum-based program for elementary children. The program includes a 35x35 foot exhibit that visits large agriculture exhibitions; two truck and trailer mobile classrooms that travel to elementary schools; four smaller displays with planting stations that visit community events; and an educational website.
Interactive Seed Survivor games, videos and activities are based on four focus areas: water, light, healthy soil and nutrients. After learning the elements that plants need to grow visitors can plant a sunflower seed to take home and grow.
The exhibits tour North America year round and the tour schedule is set one year in advance to try and meet the extremely high demand. Learn more at www.growingthenextgeneration.com.
Other Educational Support
Agrium supports numerous other major educational initiatives in communities. They are further detailed on separate websites:
Often rural communities have fewer recreation and learning opportunities than in urban locations. Agrium supports a rural way of life by contributing to 4-H, Progressive Ag Foundation Farm Safety and Future Farmers of America. In some cases, we also support parks and recreational facilities. We see ourselves as residents, not tenants, and support is one way we are able to give back.
Process – application, review
Agrium's Local Community Investment Program supports charities and initiatives in the communities where we operate. Specifically targeted to meet the unique needs of each community, this program is managed by Agrium employees who work, live and play in these communities.
Local efforts are complemented by Agrium's Global Community Investment Program. This program supports charities or projects that are broader in scope, affecting multiple Agrium communities, often with a national impact.
Through the Agrium Community Investment Program Application you can apply to the appropriate Agrium community program.
Some causes are not eligible for contributions in accordance with Agrium’s current guidelines:
- Organizations that allocate funds based on race, sex or religion.
- Organizations that have an administration fee in excess of 20 percent of contributions.
- Operating budgets for institutions, like schools or hospitals.
- Capital funding for major building projects.
- Organizations whose needs are already being met by existing Agrium funded activities. Organizations that receive more than 25 percent of their funds from United Way are not eligible.
- Organizations which are profit based. Organizations must have a charitable status or are not-for-profit.
- Organizations must provide services in one or more of the four Agrium donation focus areas.
Donation Focus Areas
Each funding request must fall into at least one of the following four focus areas. These areas are: growing the next generation by helping youth grow in mind, body and spirit; caring for our environment; building stronger communities through civic, arts & cultural activities and supporting health and wellness organizations by helping those in need. We believe these four areas enrich our communities and encourage personal growth.
How We're Doing
In 2011, we supported more than 1,000 charities, primarily organizations committed to improving conditions in health and wellness, environmental stewardship, and youth development. More than 90 percent of our donations support communities outside of our North American headquarters locations. Although we realize our onetime support of many organizations is essential, we are especially interested in developing longer-term, financially viable programs with partners. We often encourage other companies and funding organizations to become involved for greater impact.