A group of ten employees from company locations across the globe are currently in Bangalore, India, as part of Dow Corning's new Citizen Service Corps. The one-month trip aims to expand understanding of emerging markets and fuel innovation through service to others.
"The volunteers will experience the world from a new vantage point and discover what it is like to live and work in an emerging economy," says Dow Corning Chairman, President and CEO Stephanie A. Burns. "In doing so, they will gain firsthand knowledge of the everyday challenges and needs of the people who live there and the companies and organizations that serve them. The program will serve as a living laboratory for Dow Corning to explore new business opportunities that have the potential to improve the quality of life for people who do not currently benefit from the company's silicon-based technology."
While in Bangalore, the employees will be divided into teams dedicated to the work of the following organizations:
The Technology Informatics Design Endeavor and its social enterprise Sustaintech — to assist with developing quality control systems for the manufacture of cooking stoves, improving efficiencies in its supply chain and targeting business customers serving the base of the pyramid;
Envirofit India — to help with research and analysis of the needs and demands of rural customers when buying cooking stoves, so it can develop a more effective strategic plan for marketing and sales to those customers;
Ashoka, a non-government organization — to help create a business/social model for the inclusion of renewable energy products in affordable/low-income housing.
The team's members are chronicling their day-to-day experiences in a blog (http://serviceblog.dowcorning.com/).
One employee/volunteer, U.S.-based Ronda Grosse, offers this insight in her blog after visiting the Indian Institute of Science (IISc): "IISc has had success with a number of rural programs, including use of stabilized mud blocks as a low-carbon-emission alternative for wall construction, new designs in fuel-efficient stoves and biomass-based biogas plants."
Dow Corning hopes to offer similar opportunities to other teams of employees in the future.
In other news, Dow Corning has announced it will invest in a 345,000-sq. ft. energy-efficient distribution center in Feluy, Belgium, to expand delivery capabilities and optimize service for customers throughout Europe and the Middle East. The project will represent a total investment of approximately $45 million (€35.5 million).
"It is an important investment that demonstrates Dow Corning's commitment to support future growth in Western and Eastern Europe and the Middle East," says Jim Whitlock, senior vice president, Manufacturing, Engineering & Global Operations.