Sustainability Case Study: Differentiating Dow and Protecting the Planet with Sustainable Product Innovation

Colorful array of t-shirtsCan solving customers’ needs also drive our sustainability efforts and address the world’s needs? At Dow, we think so. By understanding the sustainability needs of our customers and customers’ customers, we are accelerating the development of new, more sustainable products and making sustainability a defining advantage for the new Dow.

"There’s no company in business today that can design their next generation of products without thinking about sustainability," said Dow Chief Executive Officer Jim Fitterling. "At Dow, as we realize our ambition to be the most innovative, customer-centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company in the world, we must ask our customers and ourselves how we can continue to provide new and innovative products – products the world needs and wants – while also protecting the planet."

As part of our Delivering Breakthrough Innovations 2025 Sustainability Goal, we have pledged to help lead the transition to a sustainable planet and society with new, innovative solutions that promise to minimize waste, increase a product’s life cycle and reduce material usage, among other benefits. In 2018, all six of our R&D 100 Award winners were for sustainability-related products, including:

ECOFAST™ Pure Sustainable Textile Treatment: Planet Aid, a nonprofit that recycles textiles, reports that more than 1 trillion gallons of water are used each year for dyeing fabric – that’s enough to fill 2 million Olympic-sized swimming pools. ECOFAST™ Pure Sustainable Textile Treatment has the potential to help the industry address its sustainability challenges by reducing the amount of water and chemicals used to dye cotton fabric. Pretreating cotton apparel with ECOFAST™ Pure requires up to 50 percent less water and reduces chemical use by up to 90 percent in the dyeing process.

ENGAGE™ PV Polyolefin Elastomers: Scientists estimate that enough solar energy strikes the earth every hour to power our whole society for an entire year. Dow is helping improve the efficiency and long-term reliability of capturing solar energy with innovations such as ENGAGE™ PV Polyolefin Elastomers (POEs). The technology helps customers develop encapsulant films that protect solar cells from degradation, making renewable energy increasingly affordable. It also features weathering stability, offering exceptional long-term performance and lowering overall energy costs.

"We believe the power of innovation is a fundamental driver of economic well-being, competitive advantage and sustainability," said A.N. Sreeram, Dow’s senior vice president and chief technology officer.

To ensure that we continue to innovate and lead, we measure and track our sustainability performance through energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) life cycle management and our sustainable chemistry index across our product portfolio. For example, at the end of 2018, we calculated that the GHG benefits from use of our products exceed the burdens of the Company by a ratio of nearly 5:1. This aggregate value has already been updated to reflect the product portfolio of new Dow, post-spin from DowDuPont.

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