Dow to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050

Published: 23 June 2020 - 3 a.m.
By: Martin Menachery
Dow announced aggressive new commitments to address both climate change and plastic waste on its path toward becoming the most innovative, customer-centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company in the world. The company also issued its 2019 Sustainability Report for the 17th consecutive year, outlining progress and results aligned to its 2025 Sustainability Goals.

“Today’s announcement is the next step in our sustainability journey that began more than 30 years ago. Climate change and plastic waste are among the greatest technical, social, and economic issues the world has ever faced, and our products and technology are critical to addressing both,” said Jim Fitterling, Dow chairman and chief executive officer. “At Dow, we have a responsibility and an opportunity to lead in addressing these global challenges. A sustainable future is attainable, but only if we continue to tackle these issues head-on, hold ourselves accountable, and work together to enable new science- and technology-based solutions that directly address both climate change and plastic waste.

Dow’s new sustainability targets, which align to and build upon its 2025 Sustainability Goals, include:

Protect the Climate: By 2030, Dow will reduce its net annual carbon emissions by five million metric tonnes, or 15% from its 2020 baseline. Additionally, Dow intends to be carbon neutral by 2050, in alignment with the Paris Agreement. The company is committed to implementing and advancing technologies to manufacture products using fewer resources and that help customers reduce their carbon footprints.

Stop the Waste: By 2030, Dow will help 'stop the waste' by enabling one million metric tonnes of plastic to be collected, reused, or recycled through its direct actions and partnerships. The company is investing and collaborating in key technologies and infrastructure to significantly increase global recycling.

Close the Loop: By 2035, Dow will help 'close the loop' by having 100% of its products sold into packaging applications be reusable, or recyclable. Dow is committed to redesigning and offering reusable, or recyclable solutions for packaging applications.

In addition to numerous actions Dow has already taken around the world to achieve its sustainability targets, Dow confirmed it has entered into new renewable power agreements for its manufacturing facilities in Argentina, Brazil, Texas, and Kentucky, securing 338 more megawatts of power capacity from renewable sources, representing an expected reduction of more than 225,000 metric tonnes of CO2e. The company is on track to exceed its target to source 750MW of renewable power capacity by 2025.

Many Dow products lower customers’ emissions more than the carbon emissions used to produce them, through lighter and more fuel efficient autos; more energy efficient buildings; and food that stays safe and fresh longer – all critical for a world set to add two billion people by 2050.

Dow also introduced a new line of mechanically recycled plastic resins for flexible and rigid plastic packaging applications which have the potential to reduce carbon and energy footprints of applications by up to 20%-30%.

Dow’s plastic waste goals are designed to ensure that its investments and collaboration, including its commitments to and investments in the Alliance to End Plastic Waste and Circulate Capital, have clear targets to stop waste from getting into the environment and to lead the materials science industry toward a circular economy.

“Reducing the impact of climate change and eliminating plastic waste are societal challenges that are closely linked. As a producer of technologies that are essential to a low carbon economy, we are developing and investing in new production processes that are low-emission and optimally efficient. And we are now looking at waste as a resource that will enable us to continue to innovate sustainable materials,”said Mary Draves, Dow vice president and chief sustainability officer.

Dow will also collaborate with leading academics, NGOs, auditing experts, technology partners and others in industry to incentivise the development and commercialisation of low-carbon products and technologies that ultimately lower global GHG emissions and to ensure that companies are able to account for those GHG reductions. Dow intends to share more information about this collaboration later this year.

As outlined in Dow’s 2019 Sustainability Report released, the company has made significant progress against its 2025 Sustainability Goals. For example, since 2006, Dow has: (i) reduced its GHG emissions by 15%; (ii) incorporated a carbon price into its business planning; (iii) invested in renewable power capacity – Dow is the number one user of clean energy in the chemicals industry and ranks among the top 25 global corporations in terms of renewable power use.

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