Our industry in the time of Coronavirus


Amid COVID-19, as industry leaders we must remember our long-term commitments to ALL our stakeholders.

I continue to be inspired by those on the frontline – the first responders, everyone on Team Dow and all our partners – who continue to keep us safe, keep us informed, and keep us moving forward through this COVID-19 crisis. I applaud you.

I also want to share a heartfelt thank you to my colleagues in our industry.

We supply the world with materials needed for many life-critical applications: disinfectants, sanitizers, cleansers, personal protection equipment for healthcare professionals, memory foams for hospital beds, and more.

And we, like so many others, are putting our assets to work to help combat this pandemic for the good of all.

Today – building off our announcement last week – we're expanding hand sanitizer production at additional manufacturing sites in Europe, Latin America and North America.


Dow employee inspects hand sanitizer sample

Dow employee inspects hand sanitizer sample

We do not typically produce hand sanitizer; however, a large portion of the required raw materials are readily available at our sites. Through close partnerships with suppliers, state and federal regulatory officials and volunteers, we have been able to quickly move to get ready for production. Our output is expected to be the equivalent of more than 880,000 eight-ounce bottles. All of it has been allocated for donation. The majority will go to health systems and government agencies for distribution. The other portion will be distributed at our production sites, helping protect our colleagues on the frontlines. First deliveries are expected to begin this week.

Many of our partners and customers are stepping up, too, using their resources to support the fight against COVID-19. Our collective contributions – especially in this environment – are gaining new appreciation because of our ability to create and deliver the products the world so desperately needs.

As we move forward through this crisis, here are three things our industry should be focused on.

First – just as we have done at Dow, we all must run our businesses safely and reliably.

We cannot forget the contract we have made with the world to run our plants, operations and businesses safely and protect our workers. For us, that includes:

  • Redoubling our cleaning efforts across all sites with emphasis on high touch areas, including door handles, light switches, kitchen/lunchroom area
  • Implementing temperature screening for visitors
  • Promoting personal hygiene, such as handwashing
  • Providing hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial surface wipes and encouraging their use
  • Posting sitewide guidelines about COVID-19 health and safety practices at site entry and exit points
  • Ensuring ongoing stock and supply of personal protective equipment
  • Keeping our colleagues regularly and reliably informed via the CDC and WHO websites

Now is also the perfect time to double-down on safety and remember our commitments to Responsible Care®, ensuring that the health and wellbeing of our employees and our communities is at the top of our priority list.

Second – let’s not forget that our industry is uniquely qualified to address world challenges when and where they are needed.

Every crisis has immediate and long-term needs. This is our opportunity to deliver innovations that meet some of our greatest global challenges.

The needs of our customers – and of people around the world – for new and innovative products will outlive this temporary crisis. We can’t lose sight of the fact that the world needs us – now more than ever – to supply the next round of innovations that protect human health, protect our environment, and help reduce the impact on the world we all share. Because at the same time, beyond COVID-19, other challenges persist.

Finally – related to that last point, I want to encourage all of us to continue moving forward on our commitments to sustainability.

We cannot lose momentum on the important work we have all been doing to address big global challenges – such as moving to a more circular, more carbon-neutral global economy. This will take collaboration and urgency, similar to the fight against COVID-19.

These sustainability challenges are also irreversibly interconnected, much like those COVID-19 has brought on, such as healthcare issues, economic issues, and social issues. And I’m heartened to see – and be a part of – partnerships to address these issues.

We expect these COVID-19 impacts to be temporary. But our land and water and air are here forever. And if we apply the same collaborative approach we’re applying here, we can – and we will – make a difference.

As leaders, it’s our role to do all we can to ensure the health and well-being of all our colleagues, customers, suppliers and the broader global community. Our industry is indispensable in this effort; and, today, I am as proud as ever to be a part of it.

Jim Fitterling, CEO

This article originally appeared on Jim Fitterling’s LinkedIn profile.