Sustainable Development Will Pay Off in Long Term, Dow China President Says
Zhang Yangyang
DATE:  Jun 02 2023

(Yicai Global) June 2 -- Sustainable development has become a global goal. Although developing low-carbon products and manufacturing processes can be a great challenge, it is the only way to achieve high-quality and sustainable development and will pay dividends in the long run, the China President of US material science company Dow told YiMagazine.

Sustainable development puts higher requirements on materials and thus on research and development, said Cherry Zhu. This is both a challenge and an opportunity. Companies can develop sustainable products and technologies through continuous innovation. This will boost their competitiveness and therefore achieve long term value growth.

Excerpts from the interview can be found below:

Yi: YiMagazine

ZC: Cherry Zhu

Yi: As your role as president of Dow China, how important is China to Dow in your view as the Asia Pacific region evolves, and what is the unique role that the country plays in the company’s development?

ZC: When I joined Dow in 2001 I was the 60th employee on the mainland, but now we employ over 3,000 people in China. Dow has been working in China for over 40 years, and the country has become Dow’slargest market outside the US. Looking into the future, China will focus more on high-quality and sustainable development, and this dovetails with Dow’s expertise in material sciences.

Dow adheres to a strategy of “Go Local, Go Specialty” in China, which means it keeps a close eye on trends in the local market. It leverages its global resources and local development and service abilities to provide Chinese customers with tailored solutions.

The firm has a complete network in China, from business operational centers to world-class manufacturing bases and innovation hubs. The firm’s Shanghai Dow Center has nearly 400 scientists who offer innovative services not only to the Chinese market but also the Asia Pacific and global markets.

Yi: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the manufacturing industry? What will Dow do to respond to this challenge?

ZC: China has great potential and there is plenty of competition. As an over 125-year-old company that has been growing in China for nearly half a century, Dow  develops through continuous innovation. The firm has powerful R&D teams in China and the world, works closely with upstream and downstream customers and adjusts its internal organization promptly in response to changes in the external market.

Company’s growthalso depends on their employees. Firms should cultivate talent and teams that know the local market well and have a global perspective so as to fulfill their long-term commitments to customers and achieve sustainable growth in business.

Yi: Sustainable development has become a global focus. What is Dow doing to achieve sustainable development?

ZC: Sustainable development means higher requirements on materials. As a firm specializing in material sciences, Dow is focused on climate protection,, circular economy and safer materials.
To speed up actions to protect the Earth, the firm plans reduce its net annual carbon emissions by 5 million metric tons compared to its 2020 baseline (15% reduction) by 2030 with the aim of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Circular economy is an important way of achieving carbon emissions peaking and carbon neutrality. Dow partners with customers to improve the recycling rate of plastic and promote solutions for reusing plastic waste.

Dow also uses clean energy in production to advance sustainable development. The Michigan-based firm is one of the world’s 20 largest renewable energy users and is exploring the use of renewable energy, such as hydro power and solar energy, as a source of electricity for factories.

Yi: Which markets do you think hold the most promise for sustainable materials? In which fields will be they be applied quickly and widely?

ZC: Automobiles is a market that I pay special attention to. I have witnessed how China developed into the world's largest vehicle production and consumption market. The auto industry is going through rapid changes, and China is leading the world in terms of electric vehicles. There is great demand for high-performance automotive electronics, battery materials and lightweight materials.

To meet this demand, Dow  has formed a MobilityScience™ platform to achieve seamless connections with customers by integrating the firm’s solutions in automotive materials. The company has also been developing new materials to meet demand in the smart EV sector and to tackle new challenges in the automobile industry.

New infrastructure such as the fifth-generation mobile communication network is speeding up the process of going intelligent as the digital economy develops globally. Emerging industries such as consumer electronics and 5G will stress more sustainability, driven by China’s goals of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality.

Yi: What are Dow’s future plans in China?

ZC: In Dow's globalization strategy, China is one of its most important markets and the firm is firmly optimistic about the long-term development prospects of the Chinese market.

China’s dual circulation economy creates opportunities for Dow by allowing the potential of the Chinese market to be fully tapped. Dow’s China capabilities provide opportunities for the firm to accelerate its growth and meet the demand of the Chinese market. So we anticipate being in China for another century or even longer.

Yi Magazine is a sister publication of Yicai Global, which provides an in-depth interpretation of China's business world.

Editor: Kim Taylor

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Keywords:   Dow,Asia Pacific,Sustainable development