Sustainability Case Study: Engaging Dow Employees through Sustainability

In the global economy of today and the future, Dow’s leaders require specific skills in change management, critical thinking, strategy development and project implementation. To help develop future leaders and mobilize employees to advance Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goals, Dow launched the Sustainability Academy in 2017 in partnership with the Erb Institute of the University of Michigan.

The Sustainability Academy is a development program that provides Dow employees with the tools needed to bring sustainability business insights into their jobs, as well as give them hands-on experience on a sustainability-related project.

“Increasingly, employees want a sense of pride and fulfillment from their work, and they want to work for a company whose values match their own,” said Sustainability Academy creator and leader Erica Ocampo. “The Academy helps our employees unlock that potential and develop with purpose.”

In July 2017, 35 Dow employees were selected for the Academy. They spent four days on the campus of the University of Michigan, building their sustainability acumen from these experts. Afterward, the employees split into 11 teams. Each team was assigned a project related to one of Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goals, then matched with Dow sustainability subject matter experts. Teams were given six months to complete the project and solve the sustainability challenge. Team members could invest up to 20 percent of their regular work schedule.

At the end of the six months, the teams presented their projects and solutions to an open audience that included Dow leaders.

“These projects yielded real, lasting business impact,” said Ocampo.

As of July 2018, a second cohort of the Academy is presenting their project findings, and a third cohort is launching. Additionally, as the program gains strength in North America, a team of the second cohort is working to expand the program to the other regions of the world.

The program supports Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goal of Engaging for Impact. To reach Dow’s target of positively impacting the lives of 1 billion people across the globe by 2025, the Company is seeking ways to deploy its people to give purpose to their unique passions.

To read more about the Academy and Dow’s employee development strategies, see our Dow 2017 Sustainability Report.