Collaborating with communities (GRI 413-1)

We partner

We’re always looking for ways to use the power of partnership to drive positive impacts for our company and communities.

Cultivating inclusion for all: During 2020, Dow secunded an employee to develop and drive the Midland Public School (MPS) District’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategy. In this role, the employee provided leadership, expertise and insights to the MPS DEI strategy and partnered with internal and external stakeholders to further accelerate the district’s strategy of building an inclusive culture.

Supporting a circular economy: Dow is a founding member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, an NGO formed in 2019 to develop and scale solutions that manage plastic waste and promote post-use solutions of plastic. The Alliance includes companies from across the global plastics and consumer goods value chain. Dow assists the Alliance through evaluation of project proposals, prioritization of project ideas, and implementation of project plans and has secunded an employee to support this initiative since inception.

Contributing effective leadership: We partner with nonprofit organizations by also engaging in and participating on boards and advisory committees to advance organizational objectives and community outcomes. At the end of 2020, 63% of Dow’s level one (CEO and direct reports) and 36% of level two leaders, sat on the boards of multicultural organizations – and most were involved in community inclusion and sustainability efforts related to their respective board positions.

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic: In March and April 2020, Dow received hundreds of requests for COVID-19-related assistance from our communities. Community hospitals, schools and businesses requested personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizer, financial support and value chain collaboration. Dow mobilized a team to capture community pandemic-related requests and identify opportunities for support. In response to community requests, Dow produced hand sanitizer at multiple manufacturing sites and collaborated to develop and donate Level 2 medical isolation gowns, among other actions. Charitable contributions budgets for Dow and the Dow Company Foundation also were redirected to provide financial support to local nonprofits addressing pressing pandemic needs.

We listen

At Dow, we believe community input is essential to success.

Community awareness and outreach: At Dow’s manufacturing sites, community awareness and outreach policies are integrated into our operating management discipline system, and sites are audited on this policy on a regular basis. The policy requires stakeholder lists, stakeholder education activities, a community outreach program, communications process, and community dialogue process. In particular, at Dow’s large manufacturing sites, community stakeholder engagement is a key priority, with resources aligned to ensure strong community involvement along with active listening by both Dow and our community partners.

Community Advisory Panels: Sixty-seven percent of U.S. Dow sites have Community Advisory Panels (CAPs) or participate in a multi-company Community Advisory Council with local industry peers. Through strong and dedicated community engagement, we share information on a number of topics including environmental performance, safety and emergency preparedness, and collaborate on a variety of topics such as economic development, health and wellness, infrastructure, poverty, housing and food security to effect real change. This type of collaboration builds and reinforces strong relationships between Dow and the community.

In addition to U.S. Dow sites, there are CAPs in other Dow regions such as Latin America. We also engage with other industries and corporations through national organizations, across Dow regions. The feedback we receive, whether it is through CAP meetings, local government organizations, industry partnerships, or directly from community members, is addressed in order to maintain the highest standards of safety, security and emergency preparedness in every Dow community. Community members have access to Dow and Dow-related information 24/7, whether it is through social media, WhatsApp, local community hotlines, Dow websites, and/or email. Dow is committed to acting on community input and communicating transparently to ensure our communities where we live and work remain strong and vibrant.

We respond

Dow is committed to playing an active role in helping to shape the communities where we have a presence, through collaboration, advocacy and employee engagement on important topics facing society. We respond to:

  • Racial injustice through Dow ACTs
  • Legislative issues of importance to Dow through our Government Affairs organization. Government Affairs helps build relationships with government stakeholders, policy influencers, lawmakers, coalitions, and trade and business associations who impact Dow’s interests and business concerns.
  • Disasters and crisis situations through an integrated, multilayered and collaborative approach. Dow has set trigger criteria to activate the crisis management process. When an event occurs that meets the trigger criteria – whether a pandemic, flood, hurricane or acts of racial violence – Dow takes immediate action through its crisis management practices and disaster relief efforts.

Crisis management: keeping our communities safe

Our leaders and their respective cross-functional crisis and/or incident management teams are trained, prepared and equipped to handle crises when they arise. Through regular drills, scenario planning and a host of documented procedures, Dow sites have the preparedness plans in place for unforeseen situations that have the potential to impact our business, employees or the communities where we operate. Measures and procedures are in place for potential threats, including cyberattacks, manufacturing incidents, disease outbreaks, terrorist attacks, natural disasters and more. When a crisis occurs, the Corporate Crisis Management Team oversees the actions of local crisis teams and ensures they have the necessary resources. Our multifunctional approach includes participation from Dow businesses and functions including Supply Chain, Operations, Aviation, Government Affairs, Public Affairs, Environment, Health & Safety, Human Resources, Legal and Emergency Safety & Security. Local crisis teams develop and execute the response and recovery plan. In addition, we work closely with global relief organizations and community partners to provide resources aligned with community needs.

2020 disaster relief response

When disasters disrupted everyday life, we worked with our relief partners to provide support and resources that helped people recover and rebuild.

COVID-19: Early in the pandemic, Dow committed $3 million to provide pandemic-related relief across the world. We created and shared an external playbook to share key practices with other organizations, and allocated an additional $1 million+ in funding to assist Dow communities with their greatest needs.

Midland flood: After a 500-year flood struck our hometown in Midland, Michigan, our Dow team coordinated with multiple regional nonprofits to deliver much-needed relief for community residents. The collaborative approach enabled delivery of supplies, food, clothing and water. Distribution centers were created, manned by Dow employees, and an employee assistance fund was administered, raising more than $350,000 to help colleagues in need.

Additional support: We also allocated funding to assist recovery efforts after Hurricane Laura, the Beirut Port explosion and Australian bush fires.