TNC and The Dow Chemical Company partnership

By the end of the twentieth century, Dow Chemical initiated fundamental changes, articulating sustainability goals as part of its values. Since 1995, the company inaugurated the first attempts at reducing its own ecological footprint through the establishment of 2005 Environment, Health & Safety Goals.[1] Using science and technology, experts from Dow have promised to address global challenges, given the support of its partnerships with government agencies, NGOs, and top academic institutions. Among Dow’s partners, TNC has been involved in one of the biggest collaborative projects that Dow is leading to meet the “Valuing Nature” Goal, one of its seven 2025 Sustainability Goals.[2]

In 2011, TNC started to work with Dow on a six-year collaboration, developing assessment tools for the valuation of nature and promoting conservation solutions as part of a global business strategy.[3] TNC has helped Dow conduct field research at different pilot sites within various ecosystems and created a technical tool called the Ecosystem Service Identification and Inventory (ESII), which can be used widely by Dow’s managers and staff.[4] In the first three years of the partnership, their initial research work in Freeport, Texas and Santa Vitoria, Brazil the analyzed costs and benefits of potential nature-based solutions that benefit business, society, and nature.[5] TNC has addressed how Dow benefits from or impacts natural habitats and local community and examined how nature can serve as a solution for the environmental problems caused by Dow’s existing projects in the context of climate change impacts. During the second half of the TNC-Dow collaboration, TNC is facilitating the process of training Dow’s managers and engineers to apply the new tools and landscape conservation approaches throughout multiple projects.[6] All of the case studies highlight the opportunities for Dow to balance economic and environmental trade-offs.

In return, Dow and its Foundation have contributed a large amount of grants to TNC’s conservation projects in Michigan and Brazil. Since 2011, with one and a half million dollars from Dow Chemical, TNC is carrying out the Cachoeira Restoration Project, which aims to restore 865 acres near the Cantareira Water Reservoir.[7]Besides financial support, Dow has helped TNC utilize the ESII tool and other analyses of the collaboration for other companies working with TNC.

[1] The Dow Chemical. “Footprint, Handprint, and Blueprint”. Accessed by May 1, 2016 http://www.dow.com/en-us/science-and-sustainability/sustainability-reporting/footprint-handprint-blueprint

[2] The Nature Conservancy. “Working with Companies: Dow Announces Business Strategy for Conservation.” http://www.nature.org/about-us/working-with-companies/explore/dow-announces-business-strategy-for-conservation.xml

[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

[4] Ibid

[5] Tercek, Mark. The Nature’s Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature. New York: Perseus, 2013

[6] “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

[7] See note 2

[8] “Importance of Corporate Sustainability – The Dow Chemical Company”, The Nature Conservancy, accessed by March 6, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/embed/zDHU6tp6CCY

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