Eco-Advantage Blog

October 11, 2006 | Andrew Winston | Jump to: Comments (0) | Post A Comment

DuPont's New Green Goals

I had the pleasure of attending an event yesterday hosted by DuPont in Washington, D.C.. The company was announcing its new 2015 Sustainability Goals (see DuPont’s site for more info, the webcast of the event, and a downloadable document with the goals). After CEO Chad Holliday gave a talk and, Donahue-like, hosted satellite interviews with a DuPont bio-plastic plant in Kentucky and a materials facility in Shanghai, my co-author Dan Esty was on a panel to comment on the whole affair. Then Chad ran out to do CNBC’s PowerLunch, which oddly Dan and I were on later in the program (talking about green building).

To summarize the vision laid out yesterday, as Holliday said, DuPont wants to add shareholder, stakeholder, and societal value all while reducing environmental footprint. Interestingly, the goals, reflecting that vision, fell into two categories: “Serving the marketplace” and “Reducing DuPont’s Footprint.” The latter included ‘typical’ goals like reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Of course DuPont’s are aggressive, but somehow attainable — after already cutting GHGs 72% since 1990, a world record for large companies, the company wants to cut 15% more from 2004 levels, all while growing the business.

The marketplace goals are fascinating. Like GE’s ecomagination goals, they focus mainly on revenue growth and investments in products that produce environmental benefits for customers. And this is where DuPont remains cutting edge. As we say in Green to Gold, a value chain perspective is what separates the real leaders from the pack. Thinking about ways to reduce your customers’ footprints will create enormous value. Accordingly, one of DuPont’s goals is to develop products that drive $2B in sales while reducing GHGs from customers by 40MM tons, much more than DuPont’s own emissions.

DuPont has long used goals and metrics strategically (we talk about one of them, Shareholder Value Added per pound of product, in the book). The company uses goals that are aggressive or tactical or even inspirational. For example, DuPont tracks the number of police officer’s lives saved by its Kevlar product, found in bullet-proof vests. Holliday introduced an officer from Atlanta, the 3,000th member of the Kevlar Survivor’s Club. This is moving stuff, and is tremendously inspirational to employees and customers alike.

For another interesting perspective on the announcement, see Joel Makower’s blog.


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