Dow Chemical's Use of E-Commerce in

Topics: Chemical industry, Triple bottom line, Sustainability Pages: 8 (2644 words) Published: January 31, 2007
Executive Summary
No organization could be further from the image of the "tree hugger" than the world's largest chemical producer, Dow Chemical Company. Yet for all of industry's superficial acknowledgement of the need for environmental responsibility, no other organization has so completely focused on balancing financial, social and environmental results. Dow has incorporated a highly successful e-commerce strategy, not only for the benefits it can yield in business results, but also as part of its ongoing implementation and management of its Triple Bottom Line business model.

"The ocean will be dead in seven years!" So prophesied actor Ted Danson nearly 20 years ago in the environmental Chicken Little alarm that encouraged everyone to "save the earth." Clearly, the ocean is still alive, and even Ralph Nader has given up his campaign to rid Los Angeles of cars. Well-meaning but misinformed and misdirected groups and individuals so trivialized environmental issues that those with the means and ability to make real differences in essence tuned them out. Eventually, formerly left-leaning members of academia began to realize that no, society was not going to regress to horse-and-buggy days; and businesses must operate profitably if they are to remain in business and so benefit the local, regional and national economy. A conference held in North Carolina in 1982 was the first to address both extremes in an effort to arrive at workable solutions. By the early 1990s, the concept of the triple bottom line (TBL) had emerged. The TBL model recognizes that businesses must be profitable, but it measures their success in terms of social and environmental issues as well. Long-term goals of the TBL include bringing value to all stakeholders and achieving truly sustainable practices. The view of the TBL model at most organizations is that it is a "nice" gesture but not truly workable in the real world. Dow Chemical Company takes the opposite view, formally adopting the TBL business model in the mid-1990s. The purpose here is to assess Dow's management of its TBL strategy and to evaluate how it uses e-commerce as a strategy implementation tool. Strategic Issues

The Triple Bottom Line
Dow's first TBL business report in 1999 was the first to reflect that formal adoption of the model (Dow Releases First ‘Triple Bottom Line' Report, 1999). The primary focus of business – and its investors – is that of the "bottom line," but the TBL also looks at other quantities and qualities that also are important for the long term. "At its narrowest, the term ‘triple bottom line' is used as a framework for measuring and reporting corporate performance against economic, social and environmental parameters" (What is the Triple Bottom Line?). Dow Chemical uses a broader definition, however, one which is "used to capture the whole set of values, issues and processes that companies must address in order to minimize any harm resulting from their activities and to create economic, social and environmental value" (What is the Triple Bottom Line?). This broader definition expands to include all of the company's stakeholders – "shareholders, customers, employees, business partners, governments, local communities and the public" (What is the Triple Bottom Line?) – in all locations in which it operates. In this age of globalization and the rapid economic development of Third World countries, this concerted attention to sustainability and corporate social responsibility is doubly important. Many developing nations lack the strict environmental laws that exist in the United States and other developed nations, and the more unethical types have used many of these developing nations to practice sloppy manufacturing in favor of more profitable operations. Likely the most dramatic of the results of this type of approach to chemical manufacturing in developing nations remains the disaster that occurred at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal,...

References: Buxbaum, Peter (2001, March). Growth Projected in SCM Technology. Supply Chain Management Review, 5, p. 93.
Case study for the 4th year course in ecosystem health ozone depletion. (n.d.). Ecosystem Health, University of Western Ontario. Retrieved November 26, 2002 from
Chan, Michael F.S. and Walter W.C. Chung (2002, January 10). A framework to develop an enterprise information portal for contract manufacturing. International Journal of Production Economics, p. 113.
Coulter, Mary (2002). Strategic Management in Action, 2nd ed. (Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing).
Dow Releases First ‘Triple Bottom Line ' Report. (1999, September 28). PR Newswire, p. 5062.
e-Business Opportunity. (2002). Dow Chemical Company. Retrieved November 21, 2002 from
Frook, John Evan (1999, December 1). Back-end inefficiency: Despite hype, e-commerce far from being truly automated. Business Marketing, 84, p. 37.
A Message From William S. Stavropoulos- Newly Elected President and CEO, The Dow Chemical Company. (2002, December 18). Dow Chemical Company. Retrieved December 19, 2002 from
Roberts, Michael (2001, September 12). E-commerce: Dow mines for data online. Chemical Week, 163, p. 13.
Success Stories. (2002). Dow Chemical Company. Retrieved November 28, 2002 from
What is the Triple Bottom Line? (n.d.). SustainAbility. Retrieved November 26, 2002 from
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • E Commerce Essay
  • E-commerce Essay
  • E-commerce Business Plan Essay
  • Essay on The E-Commerce Model of IKEA
  • e-commerce Essay
  • Essay about E-Commerce Services Market in China
  • E-commerce: Electronic Commerce and Implementation Essay
  • E-Commerce Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free