Yes, we had a lot to learn – together and from each other. We were thinking in new ways about nature and how to make business decisions that consider nature. One thing that I think helped was that we approached it as an experiment – testing the hypothesis that valuing nature would be better for business. This allowed us to follow the science and work through uncertainty based on the results of analysis.
This was particularly true in our early pilots, where we identified areas where nature was relevant to business decisions at Dow’s Freeport, Texas, site. It was exciting that our joint analysis found that you could plant a forest in the region to remove NOx and ozone for about the same cost as installing traditional removal technologies. But we also found that, according to our models, there weren’t enough marshes in front of a new levee site to provide sufficient protection from hurricanes to reduce the needed height of the levee. Although the collaboration team had been hoping we would find that nature could provide more risk reduction, it turned out that, in that instance, the level of protection that could be offered by natural defensive system was not enough to replace the concrete levee. The study results did, however, clarify the need to conserve the marshes that were currently present. In addition, the study motivated Dow to consider the potential for habitats to provide coastal protection at other sites.
We weren’t looking to just insert nature-based solutions everywhere, but looking at the business and ecosystems to make smarter decisions for both.