News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Dow Chemical Company and Nature Conservancy Win 2013 Roy Family Award for Environmental Partnership

| July 11, 2013

Harvard Kennedy School Lauds Innovative Collaboration on Valuing Ecosystem Services

CAMBRIDGE, MA— The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University announced today that the Dow-TNC collaboration on valuing ecosystem services, a partnership between The Dow Chemical Company and The Nature Conservancy, is the winner of the 2013 Roy Family Award for Environmental Partnership.

The award is presented every two years to celebrate an outstanding public-private partnership project that enhances environmental quality through novel and creative approaches.

The Dow-TNC collaboration is an innovative collaboration between The Dow Chemical Company and The Nature Conservancy to research the value of ecosystem services. Established in 2011, the five-year project combines the expertise of Dow, one of the world’s largest chemical manufacturers, and TNC, the foremost global land and water conservation organization, to develop tools and models that incorporate the value of resources provided by nature into business decisions.

Ecosystems provide valuable services for communities and companies. Measuring the value of water, land, air, oceans, plants, and animals to a company or community is difficult, and as a result, business decisions are often made without taking natural assets into account. The Dow-TNC collaboration takes a science-based, measurable approach to help companies understand how to incorporate the value of nature into the business decision process. The ecosystem services framework has long been hailed by academics as a viable mechanism for valuing nature, but has not been practically applied – until now.

In January 2011, Dow and TNC launched their 5-year collaboration to promote valuing ecosystem services in business decision-making. Since the launch, Dow and TNC have worked together to identify key ecosystem services that Dow relies upon as well as the environmental impacts of priority Dow manufacturing sites around the world. Scientists from TNC and Dow are working together at selected Dow pilot sites to implement and refine models that support corporate decision-making by taking into consideration the value and resources that ecosystem services provide. These sites serve as a “living laboratories” where Dow and TNC are testing methods and models of ecosystem valuation so they can be used to inform more sustainable business decisions at Dow and influence the decision-making and business practices of other companies globally.

The collaboration recently completed its first pilot at Dow’s facility in Freeport, Texas, the company’s largest manufacturing facility; and is currently in the midst of the second pilot in Santa Vitoria, Brazil. A major goal of this collaboration is to produce results and findings that are replicable and transferable to Dow’s other 135 sites. In addition, most of the methodologies, tools and results will be shared publicly with the hope that other companies, non-governmental organizations and governments can make use of them as well.

“Valuing natural services is a critical step in protecting our environment – and one that should be replicated around the globe,” said Henry Lee, director of the Environment and Natural Resources program at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, in announcing the 2013 award winner.

The partnership was selected from a group of highly qualified projects nominated from around the world that tackle tough environmental problems ranging from sustainable mining in developing countries to reducing the pollution associated with textile manufacturing. Experts around the world reviewed the nominees with the following criteria: innovation, effectiveness, significance, and transferability.

The Roy Family has been a long-time supporter of the development of public-private partnerships to meet social goals. The Roy Family Award attempts to provide positive incentives for companies and organizations worldwide to push the boundaries of creativity and take risks that result in significant changes that benefit the environment.

About the Roy Family Award:

The purpose of the Roy Family Award for Environmental Partnership is to draw attention to an exceptional partnership and its achievements while inspiring others to replicate or expand upon its success.

The 2011 Award recognized Refrigerants, Naturally! a collaboration of four high-profile private companies – The Coca-Cola Company, McDonald’s, Unilever, and PepsiCo – and two international environmental organizations – Greenpeace and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) –  dedicated to combating climate change and ozone layer depletion by developing natural refrigeration technologies that are safe, reliable, affordable, and energy efficient.

In 2009, the Roy Award was presented to the Mexico City Metrobus, a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that reduces air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, while improving the quality of life and transportation options in one of the largest cities in the world.


Contact: Amanda Sardonis, Assistant Director, Environment and Natural Resources Program:

For more information on this publication: Please contact the Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Sardonis, Amanda. “Dow Chemical Company and Nature Conservancy Win 2013 Roy Family Award for Environmental Partnership.” News, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, July 11, 2013.