Environmental Innovator Winner: The Dow Chemical Company

The Dow Chemical Company

Description of Project or Initiative: Please describe the program or initiative and how the applicant is leading the industry in encouraging environmental and social change in 500 words (4000 characters) or less. Be sure to include how the project or initiative embodies the 2017 Green Sports Alliance Summit Theme, PLAY GREENER ™: Engaging Fans, Athletes, and Communities.

Large-scale sporting events such as the Olympic Games have a significant carbon impact. However, by employing low-carbon technologies and behavioral practices, the Olympic Movement can leave a positive and lasting legacy while also delivering low-carbon Games. The complete carbon inventory of Rio 2016 was estimated to be 4.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e), with the Organizing Committee directly owned footprint estimated at 0.58 million tonnes of CO2e. Implementing an ambitious mitigation program in addition to reducing the direct impact of the Games where possible was the goal for Rio 2016 from the onset. Dow was appointed as the Official and Exclusive Carbon Partner to implement a broad technology program to deliver 2 million tonnes of CO2e.

Building on 60 years of market knowledge in Brazil, Dow designed a tailor-made technology program to address the environmental and technology needs of Brazil and Latin America by introducing low-carbon solutions and practices. Eight projects, in the areas of agriculture, industry and infrastructure, are delivering third-party-verified GHG reductions to balance the direct footprint of Rio 2016 Organizing Committee (500,000 tonnes of CO2e), mitigate a significant share of associated emissions, such as spectator travel and lodging (1.5 million tonnes of CO2e), and leave a legacy of low-carbon solutions in Brazil.  The portfolio of projects enables industries to do more with less, switch to lower-carbon energy sources and conserve energy through more efficient solutions. These projects push for innovation, overcome real or perceived barriers and catalyze long-term change in market practices.

This carbon mitigation program is built on Dow’s Climate Solutions Framework (the Framework), which was developed by Dow scientists with carbon consultant NatureBank. The Framework allows event owners and their partners to implement a structured, yet flexible, approach to quantify and mitigate the impacts of events, while also creating a positive legacy through the adoption of innovative low-carbon technologies. The overarching purpose of the Framework is threefold:

1. To go beyond the direct footprint and provide a methodology for accounting for an event’s societal GHG impacts.

2. To enable business and institutional leaders to implement innovative GHG-mitigation projects beyond the physical boundaries of the events.

3. To provide organizations with opportunities to take responsibility for the climate impact of events and demonstrate leadership in the development of low-GHG products and services.

Key criteria for the carbon mitigation projects implemented by Dow for Rio 2016 include economic viability within the Brazilian and Latin American reality and that they go beyond typical business practices, or are “beyond business as usual” (BBAU), to deliver GHG emission reductions. This ensures that low-carbon initiatives are not simply a byproduct of normal operations but rather are the result of innovation and change. To qualify, projects must demonstrate that they have implemented voluntary GHG-mitigating initiatives that faced real or perceived barriers and resulted in net GHG emission reductions beyond comparable existing and expected market practices.

If possible, provide qualitative or quantitative data that demonstrates the environmental or social impact of your project.

Carbon Benefits

  • Based on an assessment made by ERM in July 2016, more than 2.2 million tonnes of third-party-verified GHG reductions are projected by 2026. Projects already delivered 100,000 tonnes CO2e of verified emission reductions by Games time, and will continue to generate climate benefits and legacy throughout the ten year realization period.  Value Beyond The Rio Games.
  • All the projects are relevant beyond Rio 2016, aligning with priorities outlined in Brazil’s Nationally Determined Contributions.
  • The low-carbon technologies are associated with a broad range of end-use markets: total Low Carbon Environmental Goods and Services sector (LCEGS) is estimated at USD 4.6 trillion in 2012. (ref: www.gov.uk/government/publications/low-carbon-and-environmental-goods-and-services-2011-to-2012) Reputation
  • Feedback from sustainability leaders (CEBEDS, WRI, MBRAPA, ERM) has been extremely positive. Dow stands out versus other Top Olympic Partners and industry peers.
  • The collaboration engaged more than 30 customers, hundreds of decision makers in a cross-sector collaboration
  • Recognized in Latin America through:
    • The 2016 Exame Sustainability Guide (Guia Exame de Sustentabilidade) – Dow was highlighted in the Climate Change category, for the projects developed through the carbon partnership. In addition, Dow was recognized as a model company for sustainability for the 6th consecutive time.  The companies nominated to be listed in the Guide are evaluated by the Center of Sustainability Studies of the Getúlio Vargas Foundation – GVCes (Centro de Estudos em Sustentabilidade da Fundação Getúlio Vargas), a reference institution in the topic in Brazil.
    • “Good Companies” (Empresas do Bem) survey, carried out by IstoÉ Dinheiro magazine,  selected Dow’s initiatives for the mitigation of the carbon footprint of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as examples for other companies and government entities due to their reach and quality. o 12th Brazil Environmental Award (Prêmio Brasil Ambiental), from the American Chamber of Commerce in Rio de Janeiro,
    • 2016 Eco Award (Prêmio Eco 2016), from the American Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo in partnership with O Estado de São Paulo newspaper, recognizing the best corporate sustainability practices.  Dow was also selected as a highlight in the Atmospheric Emissions and Sustainability Processes categories, respectively, both for its strategy to mitigate the carbon footprint of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and for Dow’s view of sustainability as a business driver in Latin America.

Infographic_Rio 2016 carbon mitigation program

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