Dow Volunteer Helps with Blue Accounting

Dave McLeanThe Great Lakes are the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem, containing about 20 percent of the surface freshwater supply for the world. Recognizing the importance of Great Lakes resources, the governors in the region and the premiers of Ontario and Quebec have called for a more collaborative and comprehensive approach for goal- setting, monitoring and reporting on key water issues.

Enter Blue Accounting. Launched in 2017, Blue Accounting is a groundbreaking initiative that helps Great Lakes communities set shared goals, monitor the effectiveness of efforts and measure progress toward achieving them.

“Hundreds of different groups – across eight states and two provinces – invest billions of dollars in protecting and restoring the Great Lakes, but we don’t currently have a way to measure how effective these efforts are,” said Helen Taylor, Michigan Director of The Nature Conservancy. “Blue Accounting gives us the tools to do this type of monitoring. It provides decision-makers a big-picture view of critical and complex issues.”

Currently, the initiative, which is managed by The Nature Conservancy and The Great Lakes Commission, is focused on five key pilot issues: aquatic invasive species, coastal wetlands, maritime transportation, phosphorus control and source water protection. The initiative is supported by an innovative online platform and a set of related services. Dow has collaborated with the initiative through the pioneering efforts of one of our employees, Dave McLean, business IT director for Packaging & Specialty Plastics, Feedstocks & Energy and Hydrocarbons. McLean advises on the overall program design, program management and IT approaches to help enable the success of the initiative and the pilot projects. He also provides connections to other technical Dow expertise as needed.

“By providing a cutting-edge, single information source for key experts and stakeholders, we are helping to enable the cross-organization collaboration needed to combat key issues facing the lakes today,” said McLean. “The website is helping transform existing data into useful information.”

Taylor added that McLean’s work is an example of how businesses and conservation organizations can collaborate to reach shared goals.

“Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has said many times that this is one of the most fundamentally transformative initiatives underway in the region, and it addresses one of the most critical gaps facing decision-makers and leaders in the Great Lakes Basin,” Taylor said. “Dave has been invaluable to this project, particularly as we developed the detailed business plan for what Blue Accounting should look like and how the enterprise should be designed and governed over the next five years.”

Today, McLean continues to serve on the bi-national Blue Accounting advisory committee and often works with its leadership team.

“Water sustains us all, and I am proud to be part of an initiative that is helping us understand the progress we’re making and challenges that remain in protecting this vital resource,” McLean said.

Learn more about the Blue Accounting Initiative.