To make sustainability real, make it personal 0

Neil Hawkins and Joe Árvai

Marc-Grégor Campredon 

Dow employees applying real-time learnings from the Sustainability Academy to their team project, designed to support one of Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goals.

From the perspective of business, engaging employees is critical to developing and advancing a company’s sustainability goals. The feeling is mutual from the perspective of current, not to mention future employees: A company’s sustainability goals are important to the process of attracting and retaining the top talent.

But meaningful engagement across the entire spectrum of a company’s operations can be challenging. Many employees are often unsure how their job roles connect with a company’s sustainability programs and strategies, and many companies find it challenging to integrate — and inspire — leadership on sustainability in the day-to-day activities in their workforce. The net result: Employees often end up being an underused and undermotivated resource in a company’s sustainability journey.

Dow recognized these challenges early on and began to address them with its company-wide commitment to 2015, and now, 2025 Sustainability Goals, which have sought to redefine the role that business plays in society. A primary objective of the goals is to mobilize the human element — employees, suppliers, customers and the communities in which they live and work — to improve the well-being of people the world over.

To take the 2025 goals to the next level within the company, Dow collaborated with the Erb Institute of the University of Michigan in 2017 to design and launch the Dow Sustainability Academy. The Dow-Erb partnership has proven to be incredibly successful, productive, fun and, yes, sustainable. Dow brought to the table its decades of experience on making business sustainability real, and Erb brought its 20-year track record of being at the leading edge of research and teaching at the intersection of business, society and the environment.

The result of this partnership is a business-sustainability leadership and development program that provides Dow employees with the tools and insights they need to bring sustainability into their daily work. As part of the academy, Dow employees — selected as part of a competitive, application-based process — spend a week in training at the Erb Institute.

During this time, they learn from and interact with some of the world’s leading experts on a wide range of topics, from making the business case for sustainability and the policy backdrop against which business sustainability unfolds, to hands-on tools for implementing the elusive triple bottom line. When the in-class sessions come to a close, academy participants work on real-world projects related to one of the Dow sustainability goals and are given six months to use what they learned in Ann Arbor to complete them.

Recently, we had the pleasure of watching project teams from the second group of academy members present their project solutions to Dow leaders, as well as to the next contingent of employees chosen to be part of the academy. Each team passed along their advice to their successors in the academy, and it struck us while we listed to them that their learnings apply to not only academy participants but to anyone seeking to collaborate, stretch and grow at their company and in their career.

Here’s some of what we heard:

Avoid solutions that are attractive only because they are obvious or easy. One team was asked to determine the theoretical limits of how much emissions can be reduced from each Dow site, plant, equipment and technology. The aim was to help Dow achieve its 2025 Operations Sustainability Goal of growing the company globally over the next decade without allowing the company’s greenhouse gas emissions to exceed its 2006 baseline.

Team members had to reach outside their area of expertise and talk with dozens of people across Dow sites to understand and catalog the possible opportunities. By asking questions and — importantly — challenging assumptions about what previously were thought to be the performance range of various technologies and equipment, the group was able to identify additional, significant opportunities for reducing emissions.

When you face challenges, remember that your vision and passion are your North Star. All the projects carried out by academy participants require engaging in complex systems and with multiple stakeholders. In this kind of environment, sustainability objectives aren’t easy to define, and decisions must be made in an information-rich environment characterized by high levels of uncertainty.

One team, tasked with reducing food waste at a Dow site as part of the company’s goal to advance a circular economy, admitted that it was easy to get lost in rabbit holes or mired in red tape. However, by being true to their vision of what was possible, and by being persistent — “no” was not an acceptable answer — they were able to find both a workable solution for composting at a Dow site and identify local groups receptive and able to receive the compost.

Make “change agent” part of your job description. There’s a saying at Erb: When it comes to sustainability in business, be prepared to invent the job you want and then go do it. In other words, don’t wait to be anointed; being a change agent is a title you can bestow upon yourself.

The same goes for participants in the academy. One group was tasked with identifying a single project that aligned neatly with Dow’s valuing nature goal; the requirements were that the project had to be good for business but even better for the natural environment. Rather than identifying just one project, members took it upon themselves to identify one project each, for a total of three. From creating sustainable prairie habitat at company headquarter and planting native grasses to reduce erosion at a Seadrift, Texas, site to waste reduction at a plant in Freeport, Texas, these projects were heralded for their ability to cut emissions, rehabilitate the environment and bring business value to Dow.

As we get set to embark upon our fourth Dow Sustainability Academy, we could not be more delighted by what we have seen from those who have graduated from it. By thinking critically and creatively about sustainability’s role on the job, employees not only found answers to drive Dow’s sustainable practices but established critical leadership skills.

They learned to apply ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit to address sustainability challenges and to respond to sustainability opportunities.

They began to see those sustainability decisions are real opportunities for setting and then achieving objectives and that business sustainability really is a journey that will require vision, leadership and course corrections along the way.

And they found that no matter their job titles, they actively could incorporate tools for sustainability into their jobs — and into their lives outside of work — in order to be champions for lasting, positive change.

That’s a win for employees, for Dow and Erb, and — most importantly — for society

 

Source: GreenBiz

Previous ArticleNext Article

BHGE unveils LUMEN 0

  • At its 20th Annual Meeting in Florence, BHGE makes the commitment to reduce CO2 equivalent emissions 50 percent by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050

  • BHGE will support customers’ efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of their operations by investing in its portfolio of lower carbon products and services

  • New and future technologies launched at the annual event include LUMEN, which is both a wireless ground-based and aerial drone-based methane detection system; as well as a turbine powered 100 percent by hydrogen

  • BHGE’s Gaffney, Cline and Associates has launched its own Carbon Management Practice, the first oil and gas consultancy to offer a quantitative assessment of the carbon intensity of oil and gas assets, evaluation of carbon solutions and the accreditation of emission reductions

FLORENCE, ITALY — 28 January 2019 – On the first day of its 20th Annual Meeting in Florence, Italy, Baker Hughes, a GE company (NYSE: BHGE), announced its commitment to reduce its CO2 equivalent (eq.) emissions 50 percent by 2030,* achieving net-zero CO2 eq. emissions by 2050.  The company also said it will invest in its portfolio of advanced technologies to assist customers with reducing their carbon footprint.

Net Zero Carbon Emissions

BHGE has already achieved a 26 percent reduction in its emissions since 2012 through a commitment to new technology and operational efficiencies.  BHGE will continue to employ a broad range of emissions reduction initiatives across manufacturing, supply chain, logistics, energy sourcing and generation.  BHGE has established a global additive manufacturing technology network with a mission to bring commercial-scale production closer to customers, reducing transportation impact and associated emissions.

“Oil and gas will continue to be an important part of the global energy mix, and BHGE is committed to investing in smarter technologies to advance the energy industry for the long-term,” said Lorenzo Simonelli, chairman and CEO of BHGE. “Managing carbon emissions is an important strategic focus for our business.   We believe we have an important role to play as an industry leader and partner.  BHGE has a long legacy of pushing the boundaries of technology and operating efficiency. Today we take this to the next level by committing to ambitious new goals for ourselves, and to provide lower carbon solutions expected by customers and society.”

New Carbon Management Practice

To further industry and customer efforts to reduce carbon emissions, BHGE’s Gaffney, Cline and Associates has launched a new Carbon Management Practice. This is the first oil and gas consultancy to offer a quantitative assessment of carbon intensity, evaluation of carbon solutions and the accreditation of emission reductions. This new practice helps governments, energy companies and the financial community understand and solve energy transition issues related to oil and gas resources, assets and investments.

Technology Partner to Customers

At its Annual Meeting, BHGE announced new and existing technologies that support operators’ efforts to reduce their carbon footprint:  

  • LUMEN, a full-suite of methane monitoring and inspection solutions capable of streaming live data from sensors to a cloud-based software dashboard for real-time results.  The platform consists of two seamlessly connected formats – a ground-based solar-powered wireless sensor network, and a drone-based system for over-air monitoring, – ensuring methane emissions rates and concentration levels are monitored and located as efficiently and accurately as possible. This builds on BHGE’s extensive portfolio of remote inspection and sensing technologies.

  • An agreement with H2U, Australia’s leading Hydrogen infrastructure developer, to configure BHGE’s NovaLT gas turbine generator technology to operate 100 percent on hydrogen for the Port Lincoln Project, a green hydrogen power plant facility in South Australia.

The new technologies build on BHGE’s expanding lower-carbon technology portfolio, which includes:

  • Modular Gas Processing: Modular gas processing at Nassiriya and Al Gharraf oilfields in Iraq will recover 200 million standard cubic feet per day of flare gas, reducing emissions by 5.7 million metric tons per year of CO2 equivalent, and monetizing the recovered gas. The recovered gas will be processed into dry gas, liquefied petroleum gas for cooking, and condensate, and will support domestic power generation as well as exports. An additional net 3.9 million metric tons of CO2 eq. emissions reductions are possible annually if incremental power generation is fueled by natural gas, displacing oil.  Flare gas recovery and use represent one of the largest emission reduction opportunities in the global oil & industry.

  • LM9000 Gas Turbine: BHGE’s most advanced aero-derivative gas turbine, introduced in 2017, was designed to allow the LNG train startup in the pressurized condition without venting process gas.  Its flexible fuel technology reduces emissions while eliminating water use in emissions abatement.  The LM9000 delivers 50 percent longer maintenance interval, 20 percent more power and 40 percent lower NOx emissions, resulting in 20 percent lower cost of ownership for LNG customers.

  • Integrated Compressor LineThis high-efficiency offshore compressor operates with zero emissions. It is driven by a high-speed electric motor in a single sealed casing and its rotor is levitated by active magnetic bearings (AMBs), allowing exceptional efficiency and reliability.

  • flare.iQ: flare.IQ™ provides highly accurate, near-continuous control of downstream flare performance by optimizing combustion efficiency, allowing operators to reduce flaring-related emissions by up to 12,100 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per flare annually. If deployed globally, flare.iQ could reduce annual emissions by 190 million metric tons of CO2 eq.

  • NextSource Modular CO2 Capture:  NextSource converts thermal energy from rich burn Waukesha engine exhaust to provide low-cost CO2 for oil and gas consumers. In the process, each four-engine pad reduces emissions by 16,200 metric tons of CO2 equivalent annually or 60 percent compared to the no-capture scenario. In addition, because CO2 is captured near the well site, emissions are avoided from not having to transport liquid CO2 from a remote location to the well site.

Visit https://annualmeeting.bhge.com to learn more about the Florence event including the conference agenda and speakers guide, and where the full proceedings from the Annual Meeting will be shared at the close of the event.

**BHGE’s 2030 emissions reduction targets and performance are based on scope 1 & 2 emissions for 2017 and baseline year 2012, as reported to the Carbon Disclosure Project..

Most Popular Topics

Editor Picks

Send this to a friend