As part of our sustainable business model, LDC believes that supporting and training young talents is key to driving lasting positive change in and beyond our industry.
For over a decade, LDC and the Louis Dreyfus Foundation have supported students with the potential to become future agribusiness leaders through the Louis Dreyfus-Weidenfeld-Hoffman Scholarships and Leadership Program, which gives students the opportunity to pursue postgraduate studies focused on sustainable development at Oxford University in England.
Once their studies are completed, some students supported by this program undertake an internship with LDC in an area that best matches their field of interest. Such was the case of Mercedes Kuri and Aaron Acuda, two gifted graduates who chose to specialize in water and environment management.
Mercedes is passionate about sustainable development, and especially wastewater treatment issues. She graduated from Oxford University with an MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management, adding to her existing Environmental Engineering degree from Universidad Nacional de General San Martin, in Argentina.
During her internship, Maria Mercedes joined our Safety, Health and Environment team in General Lagos, Argentina, helping to measure the environmental footprint of our Grains & Oilseeds facilities across South & West Latin America. She worked on carbon footprint management and monitoring of environmental KPIs, delivering workshops on climate change and engaging industrial employees in emissions measurement processes.
Aaron is an environment and water scientist who believes the most ordinary things can be made extraordinary, through hard work and commitment. While studying at Makerere University, in Uganda, he co-founded the Friends of Environment Uganda (now GreenHub Africa),a youth platform to promote youth mentorship, environmental protection, climate action, entrepreneurship and access to clean water and sanitation services. He was also a UN volunteer at World Vision Uganda, an NGO working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice.
Aaron also graduated from Oxford University with an MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management and went on to undertake a six-month internship with our coffee sustainability team in Uganda, during which he explored opportunities to expand our local sustainability projects, benchmarking with those of other coffee companies. He also contributed to several key initiatives and activities, including LDC’s updated Code of Conduct for Coffee Suppliers, soil testing and coffee research.
The Louis Dreyfus-Weidenfeld-Hoffman Scholarships and Leadership Program was established in 2012 as a partnership between LDC, the Louis Dreyfus Foundation and the Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Trust to facilitate postgraduate studies at Oxford University for outstanding students with a passion to help shape a more sustainable future of food and agriculture.
Since its creation, the program has funded 90 students from 40 developing and emerging economies across the globe. Most of these scholars have already achieved positive change in environmental sustainability, both in their home countries and worldwide, with many of them focusing on climate change and water management. With their fierce commitment and sincere passion for driving sustainable change in their profession, it seems certain that Maria Mercedes and Aaron are set to become members of this global group of young achievers.