Results of TNC-Dow collaboration

After five years of collaboration, TNC and Dow have shown that the assessment of the values of nature can bring about both better business and conservation outcomes. The collaboration has established a foundation for determining the value of ecosystem services. The Sheila Walsh Reddy Reddy, Senior Scientist for Sustainability at The Nature Conservancy and Pilot Lead for the TNC-Dow Collaboration, emphasizes that the model of this partnership resolves around Dow’s understanding of the value of a healthy ecosystem for its manufacturing facilities.[1]

As the world’s second largest chemical manufacturing plant, production at the Texas Operations facility relies on the surrounding natural ecosystems. By 2013, TNC helped Dow identified the values of ecosystem services provided by native forests, freshwater assets, and coastal habitats in its pilot site Freeport of the collaboration.[2] Analyzing the roles of reforestation, coastal habitats, and freshwater assets, TNC has encouraged Dow to account for the value of nature and pursuit of nature-based solutions in daily decisions at the Texas Operations plant. Ending in 2014, activities at the second pilot site in Brazil identified options for Dow’s expansion in agricultural production and commitment to conservation under Brazil’s Forest Code in Santa Vitoria, an agricultural region near two crucial areas for biodiversity: the Cerrado and the Atlantic Forest. TNC and Dow identified all possible options of protecting natural land, biodiversity, and water quality through different land use plans. TNC found that Dow can strategically use a landscape approach to protect large-scale natural land, consolidating agricultural land and moving farming activities away from important natural habitats.

The TNC-Dow collaboration has applied the above techniques into Dow’s ongoing projects in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and the Netherlands.[3] For example, the Midland Greenbelt project plays an important role in addressing the issue of the Tittabawasssee River incident, by restoring the Dow greenbelt and additional city-owned brownfield property with lower maintenance costs. The collaboration between TNC and Dow produces a replicable tool and methodology for other companies to evaluate the business practices and use nature-based solutions to confront business challenges. The findings create incentives beyond philanthropy for future investment in conservation by corporations. More importantly, TNC and Dow are approaching government bodies to consider policy changes, so businesses obtain easy access to environmental solutions. The collaboration has published peer-reviewed scientific papers on their case studies to encourage discussion and dialogue among environmentalists and policy makers.

[1] “Understanding Dow’s Nature Goal – What is Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goal around “Valuing Nature”?” The Nature Conservancy. Accessed April 2nd, 2016. http://www.nature.org/about-us/working-with-companies/companies-we-work-with/dow/understanding-dows-nature-goal.xml

[2] Ibid

[3] The Nature Conservancy and The Dow Chemical Company. “2015: A Year in Review – Working Together to Value Nature”.  February 2016. http://www.nature.org/about-us/working-with-companies/companies-we-work-with/dow/2015-year-in-review.pdf

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