Climate Action

Dr. Nicoletta Piccolrovazzi discusses The Dow Chemical Company’s plans for a low carbon future

Ahead of the Sustainable Innovation Forum taking place in Katowice, Poland on the 9th and 10th December, we caught up with Dr. Nicoletta Piccolrovazzi, Global Technology & Sustainability Director, Olympic & Sports Solutions at The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), to discuss Dow’s partnership with the International Olympic Committee for a low carbon future.

  • 23 November 2018
  • Rachel Cooper

Ahead of the Sustainable Innovation Forum taking place in Katowice, Poland on the 9th and 10th December, we caught up with Dr. Nicoletta Piccolrovazzi, Global Technology & Sustainability Director, Olympic & Sports Solutions at The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), to discuss Dow’s partnership with the International Olympic Committee for a low carbon future.

Let’s start with some background on The Dow Chemical Company and your role there?

A Worldwide Olympic Partner, the Official Chemistry Company of the Olympic Games, and the Official Carbon Partner of the International Olympic Committee, The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) combines science and technology knowledge to develop premier materials science solutions that are essential to our daily lives. Dow’s advanced materials, industrial intermediates and plastics solutions can be found in markets such as packaging, infrastructure and buildings and consumer care. Through sports, Dow is able to apply its science to some really thrilling projects, recently the Olympic House project, and communicate on a much broader level how science impacts our lives, and how it is key to solving some of the world’s biggest problems.  

As Global Technology & Sustainability Director for Dow Olympic & Sports Solutions, I oversee Dow’s sustainability partnerships with sports and work with organizing committees, bid cities, large-scale events, and business partners to address technology and sustainability-related needs with Dow solutions.

What do you think is the most crucial factor to reach your 2025 sustainability goals?

Our 2025 sustainability goals represent the third set of decade-long goals of Dow’s sustainability journey. What distinguishes these goals from previous ones is the focus on collaboration… collaboration with our customers and across value chains to create new and innovative ways of working together that address society’s needs, and help expedite progress towards a more sustainable future. Our collaboration with the Olympic Movement is one example of where we are combining very different but complementary strengths to create real measureable results.

Dow partnered with the Organizing Committees of the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 and Olympic Games Rio 2016 to balance the carbon footprint of the Games.  Building on the success of these programs, Dow was appointed the Official Carbon Partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2017.  Under this Partnership, Dow is taking the carbon reduction framework beyond the Games and the host cities to develop tailor-made carbon mitigation programs around the world that help balance the IOC’s operational footprint.

Aided by Dow’s science and technology, these projects will be tailored to country-specific needs and will mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in areas such as buildings and infrastructure, food and packaging, and manufacturing and energy. In close collaboration with the IOC, Dow will work with multiple players – businesses, governments, communities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) – to evaluate technologies and support implementation of economically viable projects that can deliver significant climate benefits and maximize positive impacts within the program time frame.

The goal of this program is to not only deliver climate benefits that balance the IOC’s operational carbon footprint, but to enable a climate positive legacy across different sectors and provide a blueprint that others can follow to unlock carbon reductions.

What in your opinion are the biggest challenges that the industry is facing currently?

From population growth, to rapid urbanization, the many challenges and changes impacting societies today have led to a very dynamic business environment. An environment that has signaled the end of business as usual. The good news is we already have the advanced science needed to begin addressing some of these challenges. What we need is the determination to drive progress with stimulating approaches, and new ways of collaborating to facilitate and expedite the adoption of best-in-class solutions on a global scale.  

Which of your current projects are you most excited about?

One of our areas of focus that I’m most excited about, is the building and infrastructure sector where Dow’s technologies get deployed in a number of applications from iconic sports venues to city skyscrapers. Navigating complexities associated with the built environment can be challenging, but having the opportunity to help influence decision makers in an industry that can provide lasting climate benefits, is thrilling.

Because buildings have an average life span of 40 years, the materials selected during the design phase are particularly important as they can influence both the embodied carbon footprint of the building as well as the energy efficiency and operational footprint throughout the building’s life span. The construction value chain is local and complex, and the energy efficiency benefits are felt by the end-user or the property owner, but it’s the architects that specify the materials. Therefore, we need to work with different actors and influencers along this entire value chain and need to showcase solutions that meet local needs. We need to find a way to influence the decisions of architects and property owners today, to reduce GHG emissions from the built environment in the long-term.

Through our carbon partnerships with the Olympic Movement we have implemented to date six projects targeting applications in the built environment and have verified 3.0 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent reductions. We are continuing to develop new projects in the built environment on a global scale as part of our Official Carbon Partnership with the IOC.

You are joining us at the 9th Sustainable Innovation Forum – how important are the planned discussions at the event in your view?

The global challenges we face while insurmountable for single actors or governments offer opportunities to forge new collaborations. We come here to openly share our knowledge and expertise as well as our approach.

The voluntary carbon mitigation programs with the Olympic Movement follow the principles outlined in Dow’s Climate Solutions Framework. This Framework – created by Dow scientists and international carbon experts – was launched publicly at COP 19 in Warsaw with UN Global Compact Caring for Climate, and has been the foundational start of this initiative. We are proud to celebrate the 5 year anniversary of its launch back in Poland.

As mentioned, when it comes to climate change, speed matters, and this is why expediting the adoption of best-in-class solutions on a global scale is a key priority. We invite industry leaders who would like to gain insights and participate in our carbon mitigation program to join us.

A lot more needs to happen and we are hopeful that these events can help us identify like-minded organizations with complimentary solutions to tap into low-carbon opportunities and deliver tangible greenhouse gas reductions.

The Dow Chemical Company are a Platinum Sponsor at the Sustainable Innovation Forum 2018 which is taking place in Katowice, Poland on the 9th and 10th of December, find out more here