Speaking at the Detroit Economic Club, Andrew Liveris, Dow's chairman and chief executive officer, said the company and its foundation are committing $10 million to the collaboration over the next five years.
Dow CEO Andrew Liveris explains his view of sustainability (Photo courtesy Detroit Economic Club)
"This collaboration is designed to help us innovate new approaches to critical world challenges while demonstrating that environmental conservation is not just good for nature - it is good for business," Liveris said.
Mark Tercek, chief executive of The Nature Conservancy, said his nonprofit organization will provide strategic, science-based counsel and technical support to help answer questions about the value and benefits of natural areas on or near where Dow works - such as the benefits of a forest to ensuring clean water for towns and factories, and the role natural wetlands and reefs play in preventing damage from storms.
"This project is an example of the type of cooperation required to make real, long-term progress in protecting the Earth's natural systems and the services they provide people," said Tercek. "As the world population surges, it will take public and private sector collaboration like this to make the health of the environment not just an afterthought, but a fundamental consideration in everything we do in every part of our society."
The aim of the collaboration is to advance the incorporation of the value of nature into business, and to take action to protect the Earth's natural systems and the services they provide people, for the benefit of business and society.
"Companies that value and integrate biodiversity and ecosystem services into their strategic plans are best positioned for the future by operationalizing sustainability," Liveris said.
"At Dow, we see sustainability as an adjective and one that we apply to almost everything we do: sustainable manufacturing, sustainable solutions and sustainable opportunities to constantly add to the quality of life for our communities and fellow citizens," he said. "Today, tomorrow, always."
Mark Tercek emphasizes the value of nature. (Photo courtesy Detroit Economic Club)
Dow operates a group of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses in electronics, water, energy, coatings and agriculture. The company's more than 5,000 products are manufactured at 214 sites in 37 countries. In 2009, Dow had annual sales of $45 billion and employed approximately 52,000 people worldwide.
The collaboration will use scientific models, maps, and analysis for biodiversity and ecosystem services - the benefits that nature provides for people, like clean air, water, and food - and apply them to Dow's business decisions, said Liveris, who is originally from Australia.
He said the collaboration will inform Dow on setting new policies and approaches in the areas of land and water management, siting considerations, the benefits of natural resources on Dow lands and waterways, and more explicit management of biodiversity.
Scientists from both organizations will implement and refine ecosystem services and biodiversity assessment models, initially, on at least three Dow manufacturing sites.
One of the major objectives of this collaboration is to share all tools, lessons learned and results publicly and through peer-review so that other companies, scientists and interested parties can test and apply them.
Tercek, formerly a managing director at Goldman Sachs, where he headed the firm's Environmental Strategy Group and Center for Environmental Markets, said, "We hope that the results of this effort will demonstrate to other organizations and companies that incorporating nature's services into decisions is a responsible, smart and viable business strategy."
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2011. All rights reserved.