Speaking to members of the media earlier this month, Dow Chemical Co. CEO Andrew Liveris offered plenty of good news about the company. His presentation, "The Right Formula for Earnings Growth," introduced the audience to a new element on the Periodic Table: Hu – Human. And he outlined the three pillars that drive growth at Dow: the right geographic presence; the right growth and innovation pipeline; and the right portfolio.
Fueling the innovation pipeline -- as well as fostering the human element, Dow Chemical announced it became the first global partner of the International Year of Chemistry (IYC) in 2011. The Midland-Mich.-based company has partnered with the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) to celebrate achievements in science and the potential of chemistry to address world challenges through education, innovation and international collaboration. Designated by the United Nations, IYC is an initiative led by IUPAC and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Dow has committed to leverage its science and technology expertise, sustainability focus and global network to support a range of events and activities that promote the role of chemistry in the advancement of human progress, environmental protection and economic development.
"We see tremendous value in partnering with IUPAC and leveraging Dow's experience and industry leadership to foster international cooperation around advancing chemistry to solve world challenges such as energy, housing, health, food and nutrition, infrastructure and economic development," says Liveris. "We are focused on principles of sustainability, innovation and collaboration in our pursuit of solutions that apply chemistry as a catalyst of change."
To reinforce its dedication to sustainability, Dow recently published its 2015 Sustainability Goals Update, which are made public each quarter.
Highlights from the latest report include:
Innovations for Tomorrow -- developing innovative technologies for current and future markets.
• Department of Energy names Dow to lead research and development team
• Dow introduces world's first halogen-free solution for flexible cords
Smart Solutions for Today -- enabling our customers, and their customers, to develop more sustainable products and service.
• Dow Coating Materials presents advances in wood coatings at PRA Woodcoatings Congress
• PM100 Award recognizes Dow innovation in energy conservation
Responsible Operations -- providing a positive impact on our company, our communities and ourselves.
• Dow receives Robert W. Campbell Award from the U.S. National Safety Council
• Dow named to Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index
• Dow sponsors 2010 International Coastal Cleanup Event
Partners for Change -- collaborating with customers, suppliers, communities, civil society and governments.
• Dow provides support to Pakistan flood humanitarian relief and recovery
• Dow Named for 10th Time to Dow Jones Sustainability Index
Another way the company is partnering for change -- and supporting the right geographic presence pillar -- is via clean-water projects. The Dow Water & Process Solutions is playing a key role in the Middle East's newest major desalination project -- The Soreq Desalination Plant. There, its membranes will help produce up to 150 billion liters (39.6 billion gallons) of drinking water annually. Located 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) south of Tel Aviv, Israel, the Soreq Seawater Desalination Plant also is the world's largest user of 16-inch Dow Filmtec reverse osmosis (RO) membranes. Dow Water & Process Solutions has developed 16-inch RO technology with an active surface area 4.3 times that of the elements typically used in full-scale RO systems for water reuse, increasing the membrane size options for system designers and decreasing the number of permeate o-ring seals needed by seven-fold.
In addition to clean-water efforts, Dow plans to focus on leveraging its material science capabilities to produce materials for the energy-storage industry. With an initial focus on the automotive market, Dow will sell advantaged materials that will enable manufacturers of rechargeable lithium ion batteries to produce batteries with extended run times, increased power and operational life. Dow anticipates sales will begin in 2012.
Conservative estimates of the energy storage industry project growth from $24 billion today to $74 billion by 2020, with the largest growth opportunity in the automotive market, says Dow.
To meet growing demand in another industry -- and strengthen its final pillar: the right portfolio -- Dow Electronic Materials is establishing a new metalorganic precursor manufacturing plant in Cheonan, Korea. The plant is part of a multi-phase plan announced in June 2010 to expand trimethylgallium (TMG) production. The facility is expected to be operational in early 2011.
Capacity expansion in the United States at existing facilities is also progressing as planned, with new capacity expected by the end of 2010 and continuing through the first quarter of 2011. Total additional capacity resulting from the multi-phase plan is expected to be 60 metric tons per year.
TMG is a metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) precursor material that is experiencing surging demand for the manufacture of LEDs and other compound semiconductor devices.
Moving from the East China Sea to the South China Sea, Dow Advanced Materials broke ground on a new manufacturing facility in Dong Nai Province in southern Vietnam for the production of acrylic and styrene-acrylic polymers used in the paint, coatings, construction, packaging, home and personal care industries. The new plant, scheduled to go on-stream in September 2011, will be shared by three Dow Advanced Materials businesses -- Dow Coating Materials, Dow Building & Construction, and Dow Adhesives & Functional Polymers.
"Growing demand for our polymers from global and local paint and coating manufacturers located in Vietnam was the primary driver for building the new plant," said Yoke Loon Lim, general manager, Southeast Asia, Dow Advanced Materials. "More than 90% of our capacity will be sold to Vietnam-based customers, the majority of which are multi-national companies."
In other news -- and once again reinforcing the human element, Dow Chemical was recognized as the Most Admired Chemical Company in Brazil, according to Carta Capital Magazine. This is the second year Dow has earned this title.
The magazine interviewed 1,164 executives from various economic sectors. The study is inspired by the ranking "The Most Admired Companies," organized by Fortune magazine in the United States, and evaluates criteria such as product quality, brand, innovation, human resources, ethics, business management, solidness, social responsibility and commitment to the local development, besides reputation and ability to compete globally. Dow earned four recognitions from Carta Capital in the past four years: two times as the Most Admired Petrochemical Company (2007 and 2009), and two times as the Most Admired Chemical Company (2009 and 2010).