Sustainability Case Study: How can collaboration accelerate the transition to a sustainable planet?

Global issues such as water scarcity, ocean waste and climate change are too large for any one sector acting alone to solve. That’s why collaboration in new and deeper ways across the public and private sectors is essential. By working together with other stakeholders – customers, value chain partners, governments, academia and non-governmental organization – we are more likely to come up with fresh ideas and scalable solutions to today’s global challenges.

As part of its 2025 Sustainability Goals, Dow seeks to expand its impact by developing societal blueprints that integrate public policy solutions, science and technology, and value chain innovation to help us advance to a more sustainable society. Its blueprints align to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to ensure significance and relevance to solving societal challenges and transitioning to a sustainable planet and society. The blueprints draw on the best practices of existing collaborations and, in partnership with the other 2025 Sustainability Goal teams and businesses, seek to forge new collaborations for greater impact.

In 2018, Dow released two blueprints – Sustainable Watershed Management and Unlocking Carbon Reductions – that tell the story of Dow’s collaborations and chart the path forward for broader impact.

  • The Sustainable Watershed Management blueprint was fully launched at the UN High Level Panel for Water in July. The blueprint shares case studies on the multiple roles Dow has played as a stakeholder in the watersheds where we operate. It also includes some of the tools and best practices we developed so others can use them to accelerate their own sustainable watershed journeys. For example, we shared our water strategy with Great Lakes Commission Executive Director Darren Nichols, who visited our Terneuzen site in The Netherlands in spring 2019. We plan to further integrate and expand the water blueprint thinking internally and externally.
  • The Unlocking Carbon Reductions blueprint was launched in July at the UN Global Compact Cities Programme’s Local 2030 Day. It is centered on Dow’s learnings and experience in successfully developing carbon-saving programs for the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 and Olympic Games Rio 2016. Through these programs, Dow shared its technology and knowledge with its customers and other stakeholders to implement low-carbon technology projects. These projects were tailored to country-specific needs and mitigated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in areas such as infrastructure, transportation, packaging and manufacturing. Dow also provided life-cycle expertise, technologies, application expertise and market access to support the carbon mitigation program. In late 2017, we built on the success of these programs and extended the reach and influence of our collaboration to a global scale with the appointment of Dow as the Official Carbon Partner of the International Olympic Committee. Through these combined efforts, the programs have already delivered GHG reductions of 4.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). By 2026, the reduction from these programs are projected to exceed 6 million metric tons of CO2e.

Global collaborations such as the Dow-IOC partnership amplify valuable sustainable change and are central to Dow’s blueprint thinking. In addition to the two blueprints already implemented, we have Product Safety and Valuing Nature blueprints in the pipeline to be launched in 2019 and are tracking ideas for blueprints to prioritize for development in future years. Building internal capacity so that more employees applying blueprint thinking is a key factor in identifying collaborations that will drive a step-change in solving issues.

Read more about Dow's 2025 Goals progress in the 2018 Sustainability Report. Visit the Highlights and Reporting page for more case studies.