Dow combines the power of science and technology with the ‘Human Element’ to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company connects chemistry and innovation with the principles of sustainability to help address many of the world’s most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, renewable energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity.
There’s only one planet earth, and its resources are limited. Which is why Dow strongly believes that everything it does, and how it does it, has an impact. As the world’s population rises and new economies emerge, society requires novel solutions to meet its most basic needs, including energy, water, housing, food, health and transportation.
Those solutions simply cannot happen without the right chemistry. Therefore, Dow put some of the world’s best scientists and engineers to work solving global challenges. The Company focuses its innovation engine on delivering new technologies that enable its customers to meet society’s greatest needs, while at the same time, responsibly reducing its own footprint. That commitment to protecting the planet unlocks opportunities that are beneficial for business and beneficial for the world.
In 1995, Dow set important goals to improve its environment, health and safety performance and has been recognized for its achievements. In 2006 it set the bar even higher with the introduction of a more ambitious, next-generation set of goals, focusing its efforts on strengthening relationships within the communities where it operates, continuing to improve its product stewardship and innovation to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. In 2010, Dow’s comprehensive efficiency efforts resulted in additional, cumulative energy intensity and bottom line cost savings, despite continued fluctuation in energy prices. Since 1990, Dow has reduced its energy intensity by 38%. And, since 1994, the Company has saved more than 1,800 trillion Btu of energy, equal to all the residential electricity needs of California for over 20 months. During that time, Dow also reduced its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 20%. Dow is continuing to work towards its 2015 Sustainability Goals, which include reducing greenhouse gas intensity 2.5% per year, reducing energy intensity by 25%, achieving on average a 75% improvement in key indicators for Environment, Health & Safety operating excellence from the 2005 baseline and achieving at least three breakthroughs that will significantly help solve world challenges.
Sustainability requires making decisions with the future in mind. Dow believes its relationship with the world is to create economic prosperity and social value while protecting the planet. Setting the standard for sustainability is one of Dow’s four strategic themes: sustainability pillars: innovations for tomorrow, smart solutions for today, partners for change, and responsible operations. For example, advances in chemistry have allowed the company to down-gauge film stretch by more than 25%, saving 1bn pounds of polyethylene annually – the equivalent of 293mm gallons of gasoline or heating and cooling for 643,000 average homes. Dow has also discovered a new way to produce propylene oxide (used in products like seat covers, toothpaste, cough syrup, and aircraft de-icer) which use less capital, reduces wastewater by 70% and energy by 35%.
Dow has also recently announced that it has successfully demonstrated the use of recycled plastic to generate energy. A successful pilot test measured how plastic that has been reused and recycled to the full extent possible can be used as fuel for an ultimate end-of-life option instead of going to a landfill for disposal. The test found that 96% of available energy was recovered after incinerating 578 pounds of used plastic in a kiln at one of Dow’s waste treatment facilities. The energy recovered was equivalent to 11.1mm Btu’s of natural gas and was used as fuel for Dow’s incinerator during the test.
In line with its commitment to sustainability and Kuwait, the Company recently launched the year-long Dow Marine Conservation Program at Sulaibikhat beach in Kuwait. The program is the lead corporate patron of ‘Al-Yaal’, Kuwait’s first nationwide marine conservation initiative developed by en.v. En.v is a partner of Dow’s and a leading organization dedicated to supporting social responsibility in Kuwait. Dow’s Marine Conservation Program engages volunteer groups, government agencies and educational institutions in a concentrated effort to protect and restore the rich marine ecosystem of beaches along Kuwait’s bay and the islands of Um Almaradim, Quaroh and Kubbar. These areas are abundant in marine life and coral reefs and serve as natural nesting grounds for turtles and migratory birds. Their fragile balance is endangered by indiscriminate disposal of direct and indirect man-made waste.
Dow believes that the health of its businesses and operations are intertwined with the health of the communities in which it operates. It actively supports the social and economic aspirations of these communities and enables their success by forging alliances with non-profit organizations through educational programs, training and multicultural exposure. “Sustainability” at Dow means more than addressing its own environmental and social footprint. It means reaching beyond its fences to be a driving force for positive change.
In fact, Dow boasts several local partnerships and initiatives that reflect this drive for change. Dow has partnered with ‘The en.v Initiative’ to support environmental programs in Kuwait, and REUSE 4.0, the foremost sustainability and recycling platform in Kuwait. Dow also has a partnership with Lothan Youth Achievement Center (LoYAC) of Kuwait, who is a proud supporter of the Kuwaiti people. With LoYAC, Dow has supported community sustainability efforts, including program sponsorships, educational projects, and environmental campaigns. Dow also signed a sponsorship agreement with Al Bayan Bi-lingual School (BBS), a leading Kuwaiti educational institution, to launch various educational programs about sustainability, the importance of environmental conservation and recycling practices.
Dow’s history in Kuwait dates back to 15 years ago, a historic partnership based on common values. Dow is committed to the Middle East, and will continue to apply its strongest asset in Kuwait to make a difference to the quality of life in communities across the region.
First published in Men's Passion issue #32 June-July-August 2011