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The Dow Chemical Company - Dow Sustainability Corps (DSC).

Added on 22-03-2013

Company

The Dow Chemical Company

Year

As of 2008

Business challenge

As part of Dow’s 2015 Sustainability goals and as a corporate social responsible company, Dow is committed to help to improve the world’s ability to:

  • solve the challenges of affordable and adequate food supply;
  • decent housing;
  • energy & climate change;
  • sustainable water supplies;
  • improved personal health and safety through innovative products and services while contributing to the community success.

The main catalyst of that contribution is “Human Element”, represented by the talent, expertise and motivation of Dow’s employees. Therefore, a powerful way to empower Dow employees’ engagement to further participate in those commitments is through skills based employee engagement opportunities, where employees use their professional skills to assist NGOs and social entrepreneurs in emerging geographies around the world.

Description

Dow’s Sustainability Corps (DSC) is an employee engagement initiative that aligns to the Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility and Setting the Standard for Sustainability. DSC harnesses the skills and capabilities of Dow Employees to positively impact the world’s most pressing problems and contribute to those in need in communities around the world in order to better their lives.

Dow Sustainability Corps matches unique skills of Dow employees with nongovernment organizations (NGOs), social entrepreneurs and government agencies that need support for sustainable development projects, especially in emerging geographies. At sites ranging from India to Haiti to Kenya, employees engaged in Dow Sustainability Corps take on skills based volunteering assignments that are based on the employee’s area of expertise, rather than on traditional, manual labor volunteering. The projects vary widely – from consulting virtually on a solution to travelling to project locations in the field to work full‐time. DSC supports eight to 10 projects a year.

One of the recent successful project achieved by Javier Suarez‐Martin, engineer of Dow Water Solutions Europe, and other four Dow employees is the installation of ultra‐filtration units in Haiti that purify approximately 10,000 gallons of water a day. The trip was chronicled on film and is available for viewing at Dow’s OneWorld website http://www.dow.com/oneworld/ and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/OneWorldVision?ref=sgm#!/OneWorldVision?sk=videos.

Impact

As a result of Dow’s various DSC deployments and engagement opportunities, we’ve learned several unique and some untended lessons. The real time experiences that our employees have had required them more attuned to consumer behavior and priorities in emerging markets. This enlightened understanding of the challenges at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ has required our employees to consider and in some cases demonstrate ‘on the ground’ innovation in resource‐constrained environments.

Many of these experiences have served to broaden the mindset of individual participants and team members as they have partnered with individuals from other organizations and sectors in the drive an understanding of government and cultural realities in emerging geographies.

Participants have consistently commented that these experiences have provided them with a sense of purpose and a unique opportunity to apply skills to worthy and impactful causes.

Challenges/Lessons learned:

Dow’s Sustainability Corps (DSC) initiative provides benefits to the different actors involved:

  • The Dow employees engaged in the volunteering projects get an rewarding self‐ satisfaction for contributing to tackle community’s issue in less developed countries; an exceptional and mutual enriching experience by interacting with people from other countries, organization; and an extra motivation to work for Dow to develop products and services which can solve societal problems.
  • The Dow business involved can contribute with innovative products and human expertise to help to solve the World challenges such as water purifications, affordable housing.
  • The Community where the project is implemented get the direct benefits of the issues solved; enhancing its standard of life.
  • Dow takes ownership of its CSR and sustainability commitments, showing that investing in actions to improve the society and the environment has a “business” sense. It also engages with other stakeholders such as local governments, NGOs.

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