Dow’s Sustainability Strategy

The March 19, 2012 issue of Fortune featured an interview between Geoff Colvin and Andrew Liveris, Chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW).

Entitled “Dow’s New Direction” I found several snipets of the interview to be interesting.

What’s Dow’s strategy now? This is the third great transformation of the company. It started out as an inorganic chemistry company 115 years ago. It became a petrochemical and plastics company. The transformation of the past seven or eight years is to a science-based company that takes feedstocks and adds value to them. So less commodities. We’re bringing in biological science, physics, chemistry, material science.

Basically, Liveris is offering a real-time narrative that makes sense of Dow’s past legacies while seeking to insure Dow’s future relevance. Later, Liveris connects these “great transformations” with Dow’s sustainability journey.

I think we’ve really elevated our position, representing ourselves not as Dow Chemical but as Dow, a company based on sustainable business… “Sustainable” is no longer an option, it’s an adjective — sustainable business, sustainable science, sustainable solutions.

Finally, an interesting comment that I don’t believe has received much attention: sustainability as a recruiting strategy.

Our recruiting strategies have changed with our advertising strategy, rebranding the company around the human element and sustainability, presenting a company that is innovation-centric vs. the notion that it was a legacy company in commodity chemicals.