The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW) — which makes specialty materials and chemicals for electronics, automotive, water, energy and agricultural sectors — today announced that it aims to green its own operations, in part, by investing $100 million in internally pitched projects that will reduce the company’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Doug May, vice president of energy and climate change at Dow, noted in a press statement that a focus on “carbon management” and reduced energy consumption would deliver favorable financial returns for the Midland, Mich. company that has, of late, rebounded from mid-2010 losses.
Earlier this month, Dow reported sales of $13.8 billion for the fourth quarter of 2010, which was 22 percent higher compared to the same period a year earlier. (The company’s net income from continuing operations was $513 million, compared to $178 million in 2009.)
So far, business units and manufacturing sites at Dow have submitted around 60 project proposals, the company reported. These represent a potential 8 trillion BTUs of energy savings, and a reduction of over 400 thousand metric tons of CO2 emissions according to Dow’s own assessment. From 1994 to 2010, carbon management-related projects have contributed to cost savings of $9.4 billion Dow estimated.
The company has a recently-mixed track record with environmentalists. Dow has clashed with Greenpeace, which says the company spied on it, and on other environmental advocates and research organizations.
In 2010, The Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), an independent unit of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, ranked Dow Chemical as one of the twenty most air polluting companies in America. That represented a significant improvement from 2006 when Dow ranked third on that list, however.
The company reports on its corporate and social responsibility impacts via the Global Reporting Institute standards, as well. Its 2010 report has not yet been published, but in 2009, Dow attained an A+ rating based on the GRI measurements of overall sustainability.