Dow releases annual sustainability report, accelerates actions to combat ocean waste

Dow releases annual sustainability report, accelerates actions to combat ocean waste
Published: 20 June 2019 - 7 a.m.
By: Martin Menachery

Dow released its 2018 Sustainability Report, which shares its progress against its 2025 Sustainability Goals and demonstrates its commitment to collaborate with value chain partners and other stakeholders to find more sustainable ways to do business.

In 2018, the company generated substantial business value from its pioneering efforts to incorporate natural capital and ecosystem services into its decision-making. It also developed and invested in a series of new global initiatives to keep plastic waste out of the environment.

"The progress we made in 2018 toward our sustainability goals is a powerful testament to how we are working across our value chains with all stakeholders to incorporate their sustainability needs into our business strategy," said Jim Fitterling, chief executive officer of Dow. "I am proud of the Dow team and the positive impact we are having in the areas that matter to all our stakeholders and our planet."

Dow has been widely recognised for its sustainability leadership, including being named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and the FTSE4Good Index Series, reflecting the company’s strong environmental, social and governance practices. Dow’s Sustainability Report was prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Comprehensive Option. GRI is the most widely used framework for sustainability reporting used by businesses, governments and other organisations.

The report shares specific progress on the seven pillars of Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goals, including Valuing Nature, Advancing a Circular Economy, World-Leading Operations Performance, and Engaging for Impact: Communities, Employees, Customers.

Some notable highlights in the 2018 Sustainability Report include:
Valuing Nature – (i) More than 25% of the way toward the goal of being the first company to achieve $1bn in value primarily through avoided costs from projects that are good for business and better for ecosystems. (ii) Conducted 22 business workshops at Dow sites to help identify future nature projects and educate employees about how to incorporate the value of nature into business decision-making.

Advancing a Circular Economy– (i) Became a founding investor in Circulate Capital’s $100mn effort to incubate and finance companies and infrastructure that prevent waste in oceans. (ii) Joined the World Economic Forum’s Global Plastic Action Partnership, designed to bring businesses, civil society, national and local governments, community groups and world-class experts together to collaborate on solving plastic pollution. (iii) Invested in recycling and waste management solutions to help advance a circular economy and develop new commercial recycling business models and growth strategies that monetise plastics waste recycling streams globally. (iv) Worked closely with leading non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including donating an additional $1mn to Ocean Conservancy over the next two years, to support waste collection and recycling solutions in Southeast Asian countries.

World-Leading Operations Performance – (i) Reduced exposure to higher-risk situations by more than 750,000 hours using a wide range of new technologies for confined space entry, elevated work and industrial cleaning. Dow leads the industry in using technologies such as robotics, unmanned aerial vehicles, or non-destructive testing to improve worker safety. (ii) Reduced its freshwater intake intensity at water-stressed sites by 13% versus the company’s 2015 baseline and by 8% versus 2017.

Engaging for Impact: Communities, Employees, Customers– (i) Engaged more than 2,300 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) ambassadors to support approximately 4,500 teachers, enhancing STEM opportunities for more than 200,000 students inside and outside the classroom. (ii) Through the Dow Business Impact Fund, invested in seed funding for seven projects in Thailand, Canada, Jordan, Ethiopia, Brazil and South Africa. (iii) Donated the equivalent of 10,000 hours in pro bono consulting through innovative leadership development programmes in which Dow leaders applied their professional skills to community-based problems. More than 50 Dow leaders from across the world worked virtually and in-country with 12 NGOs in India, Rwanda and Senegal.

"We recognise lasting change starts with partnerships," said Mary Draves, chief sustainability officer and vice president of environmental health and safety for Dow. "Guided by our 2025 Sustainability Goals, we continue to use our science, expertise and global reach to collaborate with other stakeholders to help shape a more sustainable world."

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