Dow releases annual Environmental, Social and Governance Report

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Dow on Wednesday released its second annual integrated “Intersections” Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report, a 211-page online document that details the Midland-based materials science company’s advancements in environmental protection, social progress, and accountable governance for the year 2021.

“Throughout this report, you will see how we are using our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) approach as a catalyst for innovation and collaboration to create new products, new business models and new ways to build value for our customers, our people, our communities and our stockholders,” Dow Chairman and CEO Jim Fitterling wrote in a two-page message to Dow stakeholders at the beginning of the report. “It is clear to us that sustainable innovation and profitable growth are not mutually exclusive, but rather mutually dependent.”

From there, the report is divided into seven sections: Vision, Strategy & Business; Environmental Performance; Health & Safety; Inclusion, Diversity & Equity; Community; Corporate Governance; and Reporting & Disclosure.

Vision, Strategy & Business

The Vision, Strategy & Business section includes a pie graph that details the share of each of four sectors of Dow’s $54.968 billion in in sales in 2021. Packaging and specialty plastics made up the largest share of total sales with $28.128 billion, or 51.2%. Industrial intermediates and infrastructure represented $16.851 billion, or 30.7%. Performance materials and coatings made up $9.672 billion, or 17.6%. The other sector, corporate sales, made up $317 million, or about 0.5%.

Dow has approximately 35,700 employees and 104 manufacturing sites in 31 countries.

The section concludes with the following statement:

“Across our businesses, we are delivering market-driven, breakthrough, sustainable innovations that are deeply rooted in rigorous science. By helping our customers manufacture products that reduce carbon emissions and resource consumption, and enable circularity, we bring value to our customers and society, while increasing our competitiveness.”

Environmental Performance

In this section, Dow outlines its three environmental-related targets: protect the climate, stop the waste, and close the loop. 

By 2030, Dow will reduce its annual net carbon emissions by 5 million metric tons, and by 2050, the company will be carbon neutral.

Also by 2030, Dow will enable 1 million metric tons of plastic to be collected, reused or recycled.

By 2035, Dow will enable 100% of its products sold into packaging applications to be reusable or recyclable.

Health & Safety

This section begins with the statement, “The safety and well-being of our people are our first and highest priority, with the expectation that everyone will return home unharmed each day.”

These four health and safety requirements apply throughout Dow:

• Identify, assess, eliminate or mitigate hazards

• Maintain and improve the health of personnel

• Prevent unsafe acts and conditions

• Foster communication on health and safety issues

Inclusion, Diversity & Equity

“Our business succeeds when our employees thrive,” the report reads. “Our commitment to ID&E has allowed us to navigate through challenging times with increased employee engagement and enhanced innovation. In 2021, Team Dow delivered a record-breaking year of financial performance for our company, fueled by our commitment to advance inclusion, diversity and equity for all.”

Among other information, this section details the work of Dow’s 10 employee resource groups: Asian Diversity Network, Disability Employee Network, Global African Affinity Network, GLAD, Hispanic & Latin Network, Middle East North Africa Intercultural Network, PR!ME, RISE, Veterans Network, and Women’s Inclusion Network.

Community

The report outlines Dow’s five Global Citizenship Priority Areas: advancing sustainable solutions, building inclusive communities, developing tomorrow’s innovators, collaborating with communities, and engaging employees for impact.

Under “2021 social impact highlights,” the report indicates that $32.4 million was invested in corporate, foundation and in-kind donations; 50% of Dow employees volunteered; and 888 grants were delivered to 653 partner organizations.

Corporate Governance

Dow is guided by its values of Respect for People, Integrity, and Protecting our Planet, the report explains.

Dow’s approach to accountability includes having independent board oversight of strategy, risks and opportunities; maintaining a board with diverse backgrounds and relevant skills and experiences; engaging regularly and receiving feedback from a wide vareity of stakeholders; aligning ESG approach and goals with the company’s largest areas of enterprise risk and opportunity; designing compensation programs to support Dow’s business and ESG priorities; and ensuring a culture of integrity through an effective code of conduct and ethics program.

Reporting & Disclosure

This is the longest section of the report, encompassing the final 125 pages. It begins with this statement:

“Dow leads the industry in reporting and transparency since our first sustainability report in 2003. We aim to provide transparent disclosures as a tool for engagement with our customers, stockholders, employees and community members.”

This section includes a Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Disclosure Report and GRI Content Index; an Independent Assurance Statement; a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol Disclosure Report and GHG Protocol Assurance Statement; a Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures Report; a Sustainability Accounting Standards Board Disclosure Report; a World Economic Forum Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics Disclosure Report; an Analyst Data Summary; the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; and Non-GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) Financial Measures.