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Dow Aims to Keep Absolute GHGs Below 2006 Levels

Dow Chemical has announced a goal to keep all greenhouse gas emissions below 2006 levels on an absolute basis, marking a shift in reporting practices, according to a quarterly sustainability update.

The company says it will continue to report GHG intensity, but absolute emissions will become the primary GHG metric for the company. The shift comes from a change since 2005 in the types of products Dow manufactures and the manufacturing assets the company operates.

In the report, 2015 Sustainability Goals, 4Q 2011 Update, the company said that its energy efficiency efforts prevented more than 200 million metric tons of GHG emissions from entering the atmosphere since 1990. Dow’s manufacturing energy intensity, measured in BTUs per pound of product, has improved more than 40 percent in that time, saving the company a cumulative $24 billion and 5,200 trillion BTUs,.

The chemical company estimates that its 2015 energy intensity performance goal will yield a cumulative savings of more than $1 billion and 190 trillion BTUs.

Mark Weick, director of sustainability programs at Dow Chemical, told MichiganLive.com that the 2015 sustainability goals were worked out by Dow officials in 2006, and part of that agenda includes developing breakthrough technology.

For example, the Q4 report says the Dow’s Styrofoam brand insulation has been installed in more than 20 billion square feet of building, for a saving of about $10 billion in energy costs annually. Its FilmTec water treatment technologies are another portfolio product that Dow says contributes a significant amount to energy savings.

Weick told Michigan Live the company spent more than $1.6 billion on sustainable project research last year.

In order to reflect company growth, Dow is developing a Net Impact Tracking Tool that takes a broader measurement of the impact of its products and technologies. Dow will account for the full lifecycle contribution of its products, the report said.

The percentage of sales from products that Dow says offer “highly advantaged” sustainable chemistry performance increased from 3.4 percent in 2009, to 4.3 percent in 2010, and the company says it sees a significant number of opportunities for additional product sales in the category.

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