Dow, Habitat for Humanity launch carbon mitigation program   

To make homebuilding more sustainable

Photo of Ashley Schafer
Volunteers paint siding on a home as part of the Midland County Habitat for Humanity's Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. (Katy Kildee/

Volunteers paint siding on a home as part of the Midland County Habitat for Humanity's Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. (Katy Kildee/

Habitat for Humanity and Dow are partnering on a new carbon mitigation program that continues the organizations’ shared commitment to sustainability and the impact homebuilding has on the environment.

The program builds on an existing 38-year partnership between Habitat and Dow, as the organizations continue to explore new ways to leverage science, technology and employee expertise for safe, sustainable and affordable housing.

Dow is funding research that will inform how Habitat can better reduce its environmental impact when building Habitat homes.

Habitat and Dow launched the carbon mitigation program with local Habitat organizations in Michigan, where Dow is headquartered. In addition to the Habitat for Humanity of Michigan, participants include Midland Habitat for Humanity, Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County, Greater Jackson Habitat for Humanity and Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region.

They each have the necessary construction teams and resources required to complete and document the work of the program. These organizations are developing the profile of Habitat’s current carbon footprint and will complete the multi-phase project to identify potential changes to Habitat’s construction process.

While many sustainability initiatives are focused on conservation tasks or installation of efficient products after a home is built, Dow and Habitat are working to address sustainability during the building process. The initial program consists of three phases:

Phase 1: Measurement – Habitat assesses its current construction methods to calculate the level of greenhouse gases emitted during a typical Habitat build.

Phase 2: Testing – Habitat trials different building materials and construction methods to compare the emissions from each approach to the organizations’ benchmark carbon footprint. Proposed solutions will be evaluated for sustainability and cost-efficiency.

Phase 3: Application – Habitat creates technical guides to share the most effective methods of reducing emissions with its network of U.S. affiliates.

“We’re proud that the work we’re doing with Dow across Michigan can help improve the communities of families Habitat serves across the nation,” said Sandy Pearson, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Michigan. “We will be working diligently to vet different approaches to more sustainable construction and look forward to sharing our results.”

“Dow continually searches for opportunities to amplify strategic partnerships and engage with the social sector for programs that align to shared values and expertise – and this expansion of Dow’s longstanding partnership with Habitat for Humanity is no exception," said Mary Draves, chief sustainability officer and vice president of Environment, Health and Safety, for Dow. "By working together to solve challenges, we uncover better ways to make even greater impact. This project supplements our efforts to mitigate the carbon footprint across Dow’s operations, and it also supports our communities and our partners do the same in their journeys toward a low carbon future."

This initiative is in line with Dow’s recently announced climate change commitments: where by 2030, Dow will reduce its net annual carbon emissions by 5 million metric tons, or 15% from its 2020 baseline. Additionally, Dow intends to be carbon neutral by 2050, in alignment with the Paris Agreement. The company is committed to implementing and advancing technologies to manufacture products using fewer resources and that help customers reduce their carbon footprints.

“For nearly 40 years, Dow has continued to support our organization as a partner and champion for affordable, sustainable housing,” said Julie Laird Davis, vice president of corporate and cause marketing partnerships. “We’re excited to be working on this initiative together to find innovative solutions to improve homes for the families and communities we serve.”

— Processed by Ashley Schafer,