Scope 1 and scope 2 GHG emissions (GRI 305-1, 305-2)

Greenhouse gases are accounted for in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, applying the operational control approach and using emissions factors from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report. Scope 1 includes Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gases [carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6),and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3)] as well as any non-Kyoto greenhouse gases emitted. Scope 2 includes carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Historical data considers any divestitures, mergers and acquisitions and may change to reflect those activities.

Reported Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions showed little change from 2019. This reflects offsetting emissions impacts from several factors including the number of scheduled outages for maintenance, COVID-19 impact on volumes, and emissions reduction projects.

Scope 2 emissions reflect power purchases to supply manufacturing operations around the world. These are calculated according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scope 2 Guidance, including both location-based and market-based methods. The market-based value is used in the corporate total for our 2030 emissions reduction target. This allows purchased and contracted renewable energy to contribute toward the goal of not exceeding our 2006 absolute emissions baseline (42.1 million MT CO2e), and accounts for the use of supplier-specific emissions factors associated with energy contracts Dow has in place.

  • Scope 2 emissions calculated using the location-based method were 4.9 million metric tons in 2020.
  • Bio-based GHG emissions for 2020 were 0.458 million metric tons.

Scope 1 and 2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Scope 1 and 2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions chart

GHG emissions intensity

In 2020, Dow changed the methodology used to calculate the GHG Intensity metric. Emissions used in the calculation relate to the manufacture of materials and exclude emissions associated with the production of power and steam not consumed by the company. In addition, the production volume used in this metric includes products produced by the company, including by-products and co-products generated from the production of olefins. The methodology for this calculation was applied to the presentation of historical GHG Intensity metrics.


GHG emissions intensity (GRI 305-4)

GHG emissions

Excluding emissions associated with the production of power and steam not consumed by Dow

Scope 3 GHG emissions (GRI 305-3)

Scope 3 emissions are defined by the GHG Protocol as indirect emissions from value chain activities. Understanding the relative scale of the Scope 3 categories contributes to our strategies for targeting reduction initiatives. 

Our estimates of Scope 3 emissions are made according to the GHG Protocol’s Corporate Accounting Standard and the Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard, as well as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) Guidance for Accounting and Reporting Corporate GHG Emissions in the Chemical Sector Value Chain. Estimates include all or a subset of Kyoto GHGs [carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6),and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3)] depending on the category and estimation methodology. The WBCSD sector guidance deviates from the GHG Protocol in the definitions of upstream and downstream transportation and distribution. We have applied the WBCSD document definition, which states that upstream transportation and distribution applies to flows of material from a supplier to Dow, and downstream applies to flows of material from Dow to another entity.

Total Scope 3 emissions for 2020 were 69.3 million metric tons. The largest category of our Scope 3 emissions remains purchased goods and services. Differences from values reported in 2019 are largely a result of COVID-19 impacts. Although small relative to the overall Scope 3 emissions (included in “other” in the chart), the business travel and employee commute categories were most significantly impacted by COVID-19, as our employees were restricted from travel and many worked from their homes for a significant portion of the year.

Enhancing and digitalizing our methodology

Scope 3 emissions are a component of our carbon-neutral ambition. As a step toward taking meaningful action to manage our Scope 3 contributions, we are continuing to update and digitize our processes for data collection and analysis. These efforts, currently underway, will continue to improve understanding of our value chain impact and opportunities, and further enable a sustainable foundation for targeted future actions.

Actions that we’ve taken to begin to address our Scope 3 emissions include:

  • Improving our sustainability-focused supplier interaction, with continuous emphasis on data quality and traceability, to be able to capture and report company- and product specific carbon information.
  • Launch of a comprehensive sustainability roadmap for purchasing and integrated supply chain, which includes carbon accounting and action, along with other ESG key performance indicators.
  • Incorporating sustainability topics into procurement tools to be able to track supplier input.
  • Working with our logistics partners to increase data quality and transparency and initiating a recognition program to incentivize positive action.

Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions: % Contribution to total

Optimizing our facilities and processes: reduction of energy consumption and GHG emissions (GRI 302-4, 305-5)

Dow tracks overall energy intensity and consumption year over year, as well as GHG intensity and emissions as key metrics. While many projects implemented throughout the year have an impact in reducing our energy consumption and/or our GHG emissions, the following table outlines projects completed in 2020 that will have a significant impact on these numbers.

Project Summary Location Type of Energy Reduced Amount (in millions of kJ/year) Scope of Emissions Reduced Approx. Amount (metric tons CO2e/year)
Conversion of blowing agent materials in formulated polyol products from hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) to lower global warming potential (GWP) chemicals Multiple locations N/A N/A Scope 1 50,000
Increased recovery of waste heat from gas turbines via flowgrid installations Freeport, TX, USA Fuel 2,000,000 Scope 1 100,000
Reduction in propylene loss and generation of additional steam from energy recovery unit Map Ta Phut, Thailand Steam 130,000 Scope 1 30,000
Implementation of new mono/di methyl chlorosilane distillation technology resulting in energy efficiency improvements Zhangjiagang, China Steam 140,000 Scope 1 20,000
Solar power agreements to replace conventional power usage Kentucky and Texas, USA;
N/A N/A Scope 2 200,000
Total     2,270,000   400,000

Energy and emissions savings were determined by comparing plant operating conditions before projects were implemented to conditions after implementation.

Any information relating to forward looking statements, targets, goals and progress against goals, was not subject to Deloitte & Touche LLP's review and, accordingly, Deloitte & Touche LLP does not express a conclusion or any form of assurance on such information.

*Emissions reduction projects continue to be part of our capital planning process.
#This GRI metric has been restated to correct the measurement for information received subsequent to the publication of the 2019 or 2018 Sustainability Report.

Other emissions*

Ozone-depleting substances (GRI 305-6)







Metric tons CFC-11e

Ozone-depleting emissions include substances with ozone depletion potential greater than zero. Emissions are reported in CFC-11 equivalents using ozone depletion factors based on the Montreal Protocol. Since 2005, Dow has eliminated 97% of ozone-depleting emissions as these gases have been phased out. The remaining emissions are primarily fugitives and can vary significantly year to year. Dow seeks to minimize all releases of fugitive emissions and has a robust detection program to identify and correct leaks. In 2020, emissions were higher vs. 2019 primarily due to a single event of chlorodifluoromethane fugitive emissions release at a single site.

NOx (GRI 305-7)







Metric tons

NOx emissions are largely driven by operation of Dow’s Hydrocarbons, Specialty Plastics and Energy assets. As a result of the change in asset mix coming out of Dow’s separation from DowDuPont, the baseline NOx emissions are 800 metric tons higher than before, as new Hydrocarbon Specialty Plastics and Energy assets were added, while lower NOx emitting assets spun off as part of Corteva or DuPont. 2020 saw a reduction in NOx emissions primarily driven by lower production demand and reduced flaring as a result of COVID-19.

SOx (GRI 305-7)







Metric tons

Dow’s SOx emissions are largely driven by our silicon smelter operations that produce raw materials for our Consumer Solutions business, and our Acrylic Monomer production within our Performance Monomers business. SOx emissions were reduced largely in 2020 vs. 2019 due to the idling of one of our silicon smelter sites, as well as impacts due to COVID-19.

VOCs (GRI 305-7)







Metric tons

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) were reduced in 2020 vs. 2019 due to the implementation of emissions reduction technology, idling of a silicone smelting facility and lower production demand as a result of COVID-19.

Chemicals to air and water (GRI 303-4, 305-7)







Metric tons

Chemical emissions are any release or discharge to the air or water of any pollutant from a facility. This data excludes NOx, SOx, carbon monoxide, CO2, particulates, methane, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, water, aluminum and certain salts. The chemical emissions category is largely driven by emissions from our wastewater treatment operations at our large integrated sites. These emissions include the post-treatment chemical emissions from our industrial park tenant companies. 2020 chemical emissions were reduced vs. 2019 due to lower production demand as a result of COVID-19.

Priority compounds to air and water (GRI 305-7)







Metric Tons

Priority compounds are a subset of VOCs that contain carcinogenic, mutagenic and reproductive hazards and/or are persistent and bioaccumulative in the environment. Emissions of priority compounds were greatly reduced in 2020 vs. 2019 due to enhancements of methodologies to include measured instead of estimated data, as well as lower-production demand as a result of COVID-19.