Sustainable Systems FORUM #1-- LCA and Beyond: The Tools of Sustainability at The Dow Chemical Company

Event Type: 
Guest Lecture
Speaker: 
Shawn Hunter
Friday, January 6, 2012 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
1040 Dana
Event Sponsor: 
Center for Sustainable Systems

There is growing business, environmental, and social evidence that the world will undergo a substantial transformation over the next several decades.  Businesses that understand and embrace this change will be successful over the long term.  Organizations worldwide are increasingly factoring this notion into their strategies, shifting from business as usual to a focus on sustainable development.  A significant requirement for sustainable development in industry is the ability to think holistically about products and services, and to incorporate cradle-to-cradle thinking within normal business operations.  Through its 2015 Sustainable Chemistry Goal, Dow Chemical has made LCA and life-cycle thinking a central focus of its sustainability strategy.

This talk will discuss Dow’s LCA efforts and how Dow’s LCA expert group is working to incorporate life-cycle thinking throughout the company.  Dow’s history in LCA and current LCA group practices will be reviewed, along with several LCA case studies that demonstrate how LCA can be used to address a variety of sustainability-related questions during product and process development.  Practical challenges of implementing LCA within a large corporation will also be discussed.  Finally, Dow’s suite of sustainability tools will be reviewed, demonstrating that customized sustainability tools are often needed to address sustainability issues that fall beyond the scope of LCA.  Together, these tools and LCA can be used to drive sustainability throughout the organization, and to prepare the company for success in the face of sustainability-driven change.

Shawn E. Hunter, Ph.D.
Life Cycle Assessment
Sustainable Chemistry
The Dow Chemical Company