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DuPont, Formerly The Largest Chemical Company, Announces Nine New Sustainability Goals

DuPont, Formerly The Largest Chemical Company, Announces Nine New Sustainability Goals

Emily Dao
Alexa Dembek, DuPont's Chief Sustainability and Technology Officer, speaks to The Rising about DuPont's new sustainability goals.

Today, DuPont just announced its 2030 Sustainability Commitments. The company introduced nine long-term goals aimed at improving innovation, operations, and the health and wellbeing of people and communities.

DuPont drew inspiration and guidance from the United Nations‘ Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), which similarly address the world’s most pressing challenges. DuPont hopes its own plans for 2030 will help advance progress for the UN’s shared goals. 

Why does the new DuPont care about sustainability?

Earlier this June, the DowDuPont merger, which joined together Dow Chemical and DuPont, officially dissolved. DuPont’s Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer, Alexa Dembek, told The Rising that the new DuPont is “fundamentally different” than its predecessor. Since its separation, DuPont has branded itself as a global leader in sustainable innovation, with science as its driving force. Because of this, Dembek says DuPont’s latest announcement of its 2030 goals comes as a major milestone for the company. 

She tells us: “Science drives the innovation that lies at the heart of our purpose, and now more than ever, we’re directing that innovation toward technologies and solutions that can help us build a safer, healthier and more sustainable future for all.”

DuPont looks to focus on three sustainability areas

DuPont categorized its goals into three different areas of focus:

  • Creating sustainable innovations
  • Increasing the sustainability profile throughout its operations
  • Ensuring the inclusiveness, well-being, and health of people and communities

Committing to sustainability and innovation

One of DuPont’s most sweeping commitments is to align 100% of its innovation portfolio with the UN SDGs. Hereon, DuPont will only support the research and development for projects that “meaningfully advance” these sustainability goals.

According to DuPont, the “clearest path to a sustainable world” is by transitioning the world to a circular, low-carbon economy. Due to this, DuPont is devoted to straying away from typical, linear “take-make-dispose” models. In the next decade, DuPont plans to create new business models with restorative and regenerative approaches. The hope is to significantly minimize waste and increase the lifecycle of materials.

DuPont also announced its promise to design all of its products and processes by using sustainability criteria. The company also says its plans to implement the green chemistry principles to “accelerate the adoption of safer alternatives in the marketplace.”

DuPont looks to invest in reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Additionally, the company recognized the urgency of addressing climate action and acting quickly. Perhaps one of its most ambitious goals is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% and procure 60% of its electricity from renewable energy sources. By 2050, company hopes to achieve carbon neutral operations.

To expedite this process, DuPont plans on investing more into projects focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. DuPont says it will work quickly and extensively to ensure it meets the Paris Agreement’s commitments to decrease its emissions.

“Sustainability at DuPont is not just about mitigating downside, it’s about creating lasting, positive solutions and value for our customers and stakeholders,” Dembek said. “This mindset also creates the urgency and imperatives for our scientists, business leaders and marketers to solve for our customers and society now.”

Reflecting on the last year

DuPont has a history of widely discussing the issue of water scarcity. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) found that water demand will skyrocket in the next thirty years. In the municipal/industrial sector, water demand is expected to increase 50-70%. In the energy sector? 85%. This year, water stewardship is one of DuPont’s main areas of focuses for 2030.

To address this issue, DuPont wrote in its 2018 Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Report that it had goals to make wastewater reusable through advanced technology. Since then, DuPont has become a world leader in both water purification and specialty separation technologies. Recently, the company just acquired two businesses to use improved ultrafiltration technology for DuPont’s customers. 

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DuPont’s full list of sustainability goals

Today, Dembek will speak more about these newly unveiled commitments at the Bloomberg Sooner Than You Think Conference in New York. Below is DuPont’s full list of sustainability goals for 2030.

  1. Align 100 percent of the company’s innovation portfolio to meaningfully advance the UN SDGs and create value for our customers
  2. Integrate circular economy principles into DuPont’s business models considering lifecycle impacts in the markets it serves
  3. Design 100 percent of its products and processes using sustainability criteria including the principles of green chemistry
  4. Reduce greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions by 30 percent including sourcing 60 percent of electricity from renewable energy, and deliver carbon neutral operations by 2050
  5. Implement water strategies across all facilities at the company’s sites, prioritizing manufacturing plants and communities in high-risk watershed, and enable millions of people access to clean water through leadership in advancing water technology and enacting strategic partnerships
  6. Further DuPont’s commitment to zero injuries, occupational illnesses, incidents, waste and emissions
  7. Become one of the world’s most inclusive companies, with diversity well ahead of industry benchmarks
  8. Create a workplace where employees report high levels of well-being and fulfillment
  9. Improve over 100 million lives through targeted social impact programs

Holding DuPont accountable

But, of course, the devil is always in the details, and it is always important to be able to hold companies accountable for their sustainability claims. So, we asked Alexa Dembek, the company’s Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer, about how the general public can approach holding DuPont to its sustainability claims.

She tells us:

“Our goals are designed to have measurable outcomes. Some have quantifiable targets, while others create frameworks to improve the ways we operate and innovate. We pledge to transparently report on our progress toward our goals, including reporting to CDP, and publishing an annual sustainability report that follows the GRI Standards framework and the UN Global Compact.  We will also continue to publish our public positions on key issues and engage in constructive dialog with interested stakeholders.”

At The Rising, we will continue to report on DuPont’s progress and give the public a look at how the company is doing relative to its sustainability promises.

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