The upshot from Taproot’s recent convening to explore how companies can address hunger with their unique talent and expertise
How can companies engage their talent and expertise to end hunger?
Tyson’s Chicago headquarters was a fitting venue for this first-of-its-kind gathering. On October 11th, Taproot brought CSR leaders from companies like Mars, IBM, and Deloitte together with food insecurity experts from Alliance to End Hunger, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and Partners in Food Solutions to explore how companies can engage their talent and expertise to end hunger and food insecurity.
Over the course of a half-day together, participants deepened their understanding of hunger and food security; inspired targeted, strategic action through peer learning and peer feedback; and co-designed innovative approaches to using pro bono service to address this challenge. The day surfaced insights, ideas, and inspiration that will help shape Taproot’s vision and leadership in connecting pro bono service with hunger and food security.
Here’s what we learned and what’s next:
1. There are tangible ways to address this enormous issue – but we won’s get anywhere by boiling the ocean. By honing in on gaps in the food value chain, companies can address this massive issue with the expertise they have, making this big issue more manageable and solvable.
- What’s next: Taproot shared a way for companies to map their employees’ expertise against the food value chain. Where can data analysts fit in? What role can IT play? Logistics? Marketing? etc. Stay tuned as we release more information about this innovative approach in the upcoming months.
- What you can do: Whether you’ve an agricultural company or a consulting firm, understanding how your expertise meets critical needs in the issue of hunger and food security lets you immediately recognize where your organization’s employee talent can be relevant and the most impactful.
2. Cross-sector and cross-company collaboration is key to solving global challenges. When companies focus on the specific expertise they have and where that expertise is needed to address this issue, they are able to pinpoint exactly where they can make specific contributions. By first understanding where your company can fit in, you’ll be well-prepared to see how to connect with the best thinking from the nonprofit sector, and other corporate partners to develop comprehensive solutions that engage a variety of areas of talent and expertise We all know this problem is too big to solve alone, so knowing how you can contribute is key.
- What’s next: As a Founding Stakeholder of IMPACT 2030, Taproot is actively shaping how and in what ways we can use pro bono to address global challenges. Sustainable Development Goal #2–Zero Hunger–is on top of the list for Taproot and we’re excited to share our resources with this critical coalition.
- What you can do: The approach to aligning commitments and projects to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) creates a unique opportunity to connect corporations, employee volunteers, and NGO partners to the SDG goals and target indicators.
3. The complexity of hunger and food insecurity has been a barrier to deeper corporate engagement: An issue as overwhelming as hunger becomes intimidating, and many companies look to stocking shelves and serving meals to make their contribution to this need. Pro bono service allows them to connect to–and directly contribute to–fighting hunger.
- What’s next: In the upcoming months, Taproot will be sharing suggestions for how individual expertise can address hunger. Intended to help you think beyond serving soup or packing groceries, these suggestions will inspire you to rethink what your expertise can do for hunger and food security.
- What you can do: Stay connected with us as we continue to break down this issue and share insights and best practices around how you can engage your employees in pro bono service to fight hunger.
This convening was a microcosm of how we see we can address these issues over the coming year. We were asked tough questions, like “can corporate talent really make a difference?”(yes it can!) and posed tough questions like, “are you ready to collaborate with like-minded companies to deepen your impact?” Our commitment is to help end hunger and food security by redefining how human capital can move the needle through pro bono service – and we’re so excited to work with companies to engage some of our best talent, innovations, and solutions to solve this challenge.