Dow Chemical’s 2015 sustainability goals nearing reality

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Courtesy Dow Chemical Co.Dow’s Texas Operations in Freeport, first pilot site of the five-year collaboration with The Nature Conservancy to incorporate the business value of nature.

MIDLAND — Being a sustainable company is about more than just adopting sustainable practices.

The Midland-based Dow Chemical Co. released its fourth quarter 2015 sustainability goals update, showing it is getting ever nearer to minimizing its own footprint and coming up with solutions to world challenges.

«For us, sustainability means making every decision with the future in mind,» said Mark Weick, director of sustainability programs at Dow Chemical.

The way Dow achieves this, Weick said, is by having a «triple bottom line,» and basing everything on how it will impact ecology, social equity and the economy.
In 2006, Dow officials sat down and came up with the plan that would carry the chemical giant through to 2015, aiming to utilize more clean energy, find breakthroughs to some of the world’s most pressing challenges and publish product safety assessments for all of its products.
«We’re constantly thinking ahead so that we can be a sustainable company not only today but in the future,» Weick said.

In 2008, Dow established a clean power goal of 400 megawatt equivalents by 2025, which is about 10 percent of the power Dow used worldwide in 2004. This includes power from low-carbon or renewable energy sources. To date, Dow is already more than halfway toward the target of 215 megawatts.

Sustainability Wheel-300dpi.jpgView full sizeCourtesy Dow Chemical Co.Sustainability Wheel showing Dow’s seven 2015 Sustainability Goals

Since it started counting in 1990 how it was saving energy, Dow Chemical has saved more than $24 billion, Weick said, and ultimately aims to reduce its energy intensity, or the amount of energy it uses divided by the pounds of products it puts out, by 25 percent by 2015.

«It just makes good business sense because when you save energy, you save money,» Weick said.

Locally, electricity from recaptured landfill gas is used as a source of power for Dow’s Midland headquarters, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 12,000 tons annually.

With Dow’s Powerhouse Solar Shingles and its advancements in wind and other renewable power sources, it’s hard not to wonder if the company is aiming toward self-sufficiency, but Weick said it would be a bit impractical.

«We may not be the most efficient producers of the energy we need,» he said. «We will always work with suppliers to continue to meet our energy needs.»

While Dow continues to have its own energy needs met, its employees are always working to meet the energy and other basic needs of people around the world. More than $1.6 billion was spent on sustainable project research last year, Weick said, in the hopes of finding a breakthrough to one of the world’s challenges.

Considering basic human needs like water, food, housing and transportation are demands that can be met through sustainable chemistry, Weick said the company sees the practice as the hub and wheels for its goals of having a comprehensive relationship with the surrounding world.

Americans can already see benefits from one of Dow’s breakthrough projects in the form of the company’s healthy Omega 9 oils, which have helped to take more than a billion pounds of bad fats out of American diets.

Products developed by Dow Chemical scientists help treat more than 9 billion gallons of water per day, and Weick said the company’s Powerhouse Solar Shingles are on their way toward becoming one of the company’s breakthrough inventions should they continue to grow their presence in the marketplace.

«Sustainability is something we are very much committed to,» Weick said. «We are very optimistic about the future, and we’re glad to be a part of it.»

Source / Fuente: www.mlive.com

Author / Autor:   Kathryn Lynch-Morin | klynchmo@mlive.com

Date / Fecha: 24/02/12

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