Villagers gather around a farmer on a John Deere tractor in Ghana, Africa

2018 Global Citizenship & Sustainability Report

Headshot of Samuel R Allen


Citizenship, Sustainability Activities Drive Efforts to be a Power for Good

Year after year, John Deere employees are making Deere a more resilient and robust company. Their efforts certainly contributed to our strong performance in 2017. The company's financial success, in turn, provided the means to continue giving back, to our home communities and throughout the world in the form of sustainable investments and employee volunteerism. We feel so strongly about being a good corporate citizen, or a Power for Good, that our corporate strategy cites civic and environmental stewardship as a factor critical to our success.

Full Letter

Download Global Citizenship & Sustainability Summary Report


Responsible resource management is vital not just to our company and employees, but also to our customers, neighbors, and the world. With our commitment to those linked to the land comes a responsibility to efficiently manage natural resources, minimize energy and water use, and reduce waste in our operations, all while designing new products that are both fuel-efficient and productive.

Guiding our work is a set of 2018 Sustainability Goals. For the third year in a row, we exceeded our goal for recycling 75% of the waste produced by our facilities, and this year we also successfully met our greenhouse gas target and maintained our focus on energy and water efficiency.

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Rows of solar panels


John Deere has made energy efficiency a continued foundation of our operations. In some locations we have implemented on-site renewable electricity solutions and utility-scale projects offsite. These efforts along with increased production volumes allowed our normalized greenhouse gas emissions to decrease 26% from the previous year.

Large equipment part being dipped in water tank and sprayed


Putting a value on water usage is evident in both how we make our products and how they interact with the earth. Our goal of reducing water consumption in our facilities by 15% per ton of production means we have to be smarter and more efficient in our processes. Examples of how this can be done range from rethinking a paint system's wash stages to collecting rain water and using it for irrigation.

recycling and waste containers pulled by small vehicle


Being good stewards of the land means reusing the products born from it. At John Deere our facilities diligently strive to work with suppliers who share our beliefs. The more we can incorporate partners into our efforts, the bigger the impact. Our global footprint means our message is widespread and culturally diverse. Our goal is to recycle 75% of the waste produced by our facilities, and we have numerous stories highlighting our dedication to this cause.

Product Sustainability

John Deere is committed to environmental responsibility. From the earliest stages in a product's development, we practice life-cycle engineering to create products and services that both meet customer needs and reduce environmental impact.


We continue to proactively reduce risk by applying innovative design and technology. We strive to achieve safety excellence through increased focus on leading indicators, risk reduction, health and safety management systems, and prevention. Equally important is our focus on product safety as we continually work to make John Deere equipment as safe as possible for our customers.

Equally important is our focus on product safety as we continually work to make Deere equipment as safe as possible for our customers.

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Employees look at a graph displaying workplace safety statistics

Workplace Safety

Keeping our employees safe within our facilities — and outside them — is a top priority that brings with it many programs, processes, and metrics. But in the end, there is only one number we truly focus on – zero. As aspirational as it may sound, we begin every shift, every day, every fiscal year with the single goal of having zero injuries – on and off the job.


John Deere and the John Deere Foundation are focused on solving world hunger, empowering others through education, and developing our home communities. We invest with purpose to achieve sustainable, measurable outcomes.

In 2017, John Deere and the John Deere Foundation made $33.4 million in charitable contributions, equal to 1.5 % of the company's average net income from the previous three fiscal years, and exceeding our 1 % goal.

Our charitable investments are often enhanced by our employees' time and talent. John Deere employees around the world volunteered 160,688 hours in 2017, a new annual record.

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Making a Difference in Our Communities and Beyond

33.4 million dollars in charitable contributions in 2017

Represents the equivalent of 1.5% of the company’s average net income from the previous three fiscal years, exceeding our 1% goal.

160,688 volunteer hours recorded in 2017

Represents the first year of a six-year goal to reach one million recorded volunteer hours by 2022.

students gathered in circle looking at camera at indaiatuba school

Helping At-Risk Youth Find Focus

Like many teenagers, 17-year-old Alex Gerlach was having trouble focusing on his future. A senior in high school at the Albino Fantin Public School in Horizontina, Brazil, he also didn’t know what he could be doing at the present to ensure his future success.

employees volunteer at united way food bank event

United Way Worldwide Grant Launches Citizenship Program in Europe

Employees in France, Germany, Poland, and Spain are joining their colleagues around the world in supporting their home communities through volunteerism thanks to a $1.5 million grant from the John Deere Foundation to United Way Worldwide. The grant launched a formal citizenship program in the European region in 2017.

Skid steer removes fallen trees after hurricane

Helping Repair and Rebuild Communities in the Face of Disaster

John Deere has a long history of supporting disaster relief organizations. Our third chief executive officer, William Butterworth, chaired the first Quad Cities-area chapter of the American Red Cross, and he personally delivered the chapter’s charter to Washington, D.C., in 1917.

Group of African farmers and villagers look at a tractor gear.

Bringing Mechanization to Africa

Since 2013, John Deere and the John Deere Foundation have partnered with TechnoServe (TNS) to provide agronomic and mechanization training to farmers in Ghana and Kenya through a Mobile Training Unit (MTU) and demonstration plots. In total, Deere has invested $5.65 million with TechnoServe to improve the lives of more than 47,000 people in the two countries, and increased incomes by as much as nearly $30 million.

A group of Deere employee volunteers from the U.S. and S. Africa visited northern Ghana in late September to observe the impact of TNS’ work and explore ways to complement the company’s growing presence in Africa through community projects. The team met with female entrepreneurs anxious to mechanize their farming operations, and worked with a local rice mill to build a business plan.

Team member Vanessa Stiffler-Claus, director, international public affairs policy and strategy, found the experience uplifting. “I think there are a lot of challenges, but when there are challenges there are also discrete ways you can intervene and make positive change. I hope we can carry this forward and find ways to help mechanize and bring advanced ag practices that fit for the society here,” she said.

Learn more about our work in bringing mechanization to Africa.

Indonesian man holds crops he is harvesting from a rice field.

Power from the People

As the world's fourth most populous country, Indonesia is especially dependent on its rice farmers to help feed its nearly 260 million residents.

With that country's population projected to grow to as much as 360 million by 2050, the John Deere Foundation sees the success of smallholder rice farmers in Indonesia as integral to helping feed the world.

The power of collaboration was on full display in East Java, Indonesia, in March 2017, when the John Deere Foundation, John Deere employee volunteers, and NGO partner Mercy Corps came together to train smallholder rice farmers and farmer group unions.

Read more about how the Promoting Organizations that Work to Empower Rice Farmers, or POWER, program is increasing Indonesian farmer incomes in the John Deere Journal.

male teens works on stem project

Inspiring the Next Generation of Innovators

They come from all corners of the company. Baby boomers. Millennials. Engineers. HR professionals. They all share a common passion for inspiring young people to become science and technology leaders and innovators. They’re mentors for John Deere's FIRST teams.

A strategic partner of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the John Deere Foundation sponsored 618 teams in six countries in the 2017-2018 season. Nearly 300 employees served as mentors for the teams. See what keeps these mentors coming back year after year.

Read more about John Deere FIRST mentors.

social responsibility trophy

World’s Most Ethical Companies – Ethisphere Institute

World’s Top 50 Most Admired CompaniesFortune magazine

Top 100 Global Brands – Interbrand

Company of the Year – Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award – Junior Achievement USA

50 Best Places to Work in the U.S. –

Top Employer recognition in:
Brazil (Great Place to Work Institute, Época magazine)
Germany (Focus magazine)
Mexico (Great Place to Work Institute)
Spain (Top Employers Institute)
U.S. (Forbes magazine)

Best Working Mother Companies Award in Mexico (John Deere Mexico) – Working Mothers Mexico Institute