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Dow has established a number of sustainability goals that it wants to meet by 2015. They are built around leadership in product safety, human health and energy conservation. Dow has had similar initiatives since 1986, according to Zavitz, when it created a first-responder program designed to handle accidents. But over the years, the programs have begun to incorporate environmental safety and protection goals was well.
"We're one of the largest bulk shippers in the U.S., so energy conservation and the supply chain come together. If you're eliminating shipments, you're helping conservation."
Waste, of course, is a major challenge. He figures that between 1995 and 2005, the company reduced its energy consumption by 20 percent, possibly saving billions.
The action is not just centered in North America but worldwide, Zavitz says. China is one of its primary target areas for raising environmental consciousness. Dow is working there with government and NGOs.
What about the bottom line? "We believe that waste reduction is always good business value. We start with that. It's a closely held principle. What's good for the environment is good for business." Moreover, the business case is generally "congruent" with financial and social concerns. If they aren't, "That's the time to look for innovation and a better way to do this."
To view this video interview in its entirety, click here.
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