Dow aims to be carbon neutral by 2050

Article by Adam Duckett

DOW has set a target to be carbon neutral by 2050 and that all the packaging its chemicals produce will be reusable or recyclable by 2035.

The new targets come alongside the publication of the chemical company’s annual sustainability report. To achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, it has set an interim target to reduce carbon emissions by 5m t or 15% from its 2020 baseline by 2030.

In the report, Dow CEO Jim Fitterling said that while the company is purchasing more renewable power to help reduce emissions, it will also have to rely on its own technological innovation. As an example of how the company is reducing emissions through process technology, Fitterling pointed to the Plaquemine site in Louisiana, US, where Dow is retrofitting a mixed-feed cracker to produce propylene with a proprietary fluidised catalytic dehydrogenation technology. He said the project will reduce energy use and emissions by up to 20% versus conventional technology.

Dow’s carbon neutral target covers emissions from its own operations (scope 1), from the indirect emissions produced from generating the power it uses (scope 2), and all the indirect emissions through the value chain including from its suppliers, from customers using its products, and end-of-life treatment of its sold products (scope 3).

To better manage the impact of its products, Dow has now set a target that 100% of its products sold into packaging applications will be reusable or recyclable by 2035; and that it will collect, reuse or recycle 1m t of plastic by 2030.

Dow has not outlined how it will eliminate its scope 3 emissions, which are particularly challenging to address for firms that rely on fossil fuels for feedstocks. Scope 3 emissions were responsible for 91.4m t or 73% of the 125.05m t of CO2e it produced in 2019.

Mary Draves, Dow’s Chief Sustainability Officer, said the company will announce more details later this year on how it will address scope 3 emissions and so-called “product benefit”, Bloomberg reports. Product benefit refers to calculating how products sold by firms, such as insulation, helps reduce customer emissions, so could be used to offset scope 3 emissions.

Other chemicals firms that have set targets to be carbon neutral by 2050 include Sumitomo Chemicals, Syngenta, Novozymes and Royal DSM.

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

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