Andrew Liveris, chairman and chief executive officer of The Dow Chemical Company and Mark Tercek, chief executive officer of The Nature Conservancy jointly announced today a new collaboration between the organizations to help Dow and other companies recognize, value and incorporate nature into global business goals, decisions and strategies. The senior leaders issued the news to some of the world’s foremost business, environmental and sustainability leaders, dignitaries and media at the Detroit Economic Club.
The global organizations will work together to apply scientific knowledge and experience to examine how Dow’s operations rely on and affect nature. The aim of the collaboration is to advance the incorporation of the value of nature into business, and to take action to protect the earth’s natural systems and the services they provide people, for the benefit of business and society. One of the major objectives of this collaboration is to share all tools, lessons learned and results publicly and through peer-review so that other companies, scientists and interested parties can test and apply them.
“This collaboration is designed to help us innovate new approaches to critical world challenges while demonstrating that environmental conservation is not just good for nature – it is good for business,” Liveris said. “Companies that value and integrate biodiversity and ecosystem services into their strategic plans are best positioned for the future by operationalizing sustainability. At Dow, we see sustainability as an adjective and one that we apply to almost everything we do: sustainable manufacturing, sustainable solutions and sustainable opportunities to constantly add to the quality of life for our communities and fellow citizens. Today, tomorrow, always.”
“This project is an example of the type of cooperation required to make real, long-term progress in protecting the earth’s natural systems and the services they provide people.” noted Tercek. “As the world population surges, it will take public and private sector collaboration like this to make the health of the environment not just an afterthought, but a fundamental consideration in everything we do in every part of our society. We hope that the results of this effort will demonstrate to other organizations and companies that incorporating nature’s services into decisions is a responsible, smart and viable business strategy.”
Dow and its foundation are committing $10 million to this collaboration over the next five years. The Nature Conservancy will provide strategic, science-based counsel and technical support to help answer questions about the value and benefits of natural areas on or near where Dow works – such as the benefits of a forest to ensuring clean water for towns and factories, and the role natural wetlands and reefs play in preventing damage from storms.
The collaboration will use scientific models, maps, and analysis for biodiversity and “ecosystem services” – the benefits that nature provides for people, like clean air, water, and food – and apply them to Dow’s business decisions. It will inform Dow on setting new policies and approaches in the areas of land and water management, siting considerations, the benefits of natural resources on Dow lands and waterways, and more explicit management of biodiversity. Scientists from both organizations will implement and refine ecosystem services and biodiversity assessment models, initially, on at least three Dow manufacturing sites.
In addition to the news conference, The Detroit Economic Club hosted a live webcast featuring Liveris and Tercek. The webcast, moderated by TIME magazine’s Bryan Walsh, offered viewers unique insights into how the Dow-Nature Conservancy collaboration came together, the history between the organizations, the expertise each brings to the table and what the initiative aims to accomplish in the short and long term.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.