Top Ten Cleantech Initiatives of DuPont

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DuPont is an American chemical company established in 1802. It is one of the largest chemical companies in the world and known for its development of a number of polymers, including Teflon, Kevlar, Lycra, and Mylar. Today, DuPont puts their science to use by developing a number of sustainable solutions to create safer, better and healthier lives for all people around the world. DuPont has won a number of awards for their initiatives, including 2005 Number One ranking on Business Week’s List of Top Green Companies and in Fast Company Magazine’s 2006 Fast 50 list of organizations and people who will change the world.

1) Clear into the Future. The DuPont community based conservation program, Clear into the Future, works with communities to enhance and preserve the integrity and beauty of the Delaware Estuary for numerous generations. DuPont has been working on this project for over 200 years to assist in protecting the vibrant ecosystem. With numerous challenges facing it, including hazardous chemical dumping, over-fishing, and littering, it has become important for DuPont to increase community awareness and preserve the area.

2) Land Conservation Initiatives. DuPont’s main strategy for land conservation includes its Land Legacy Program to protect its property for wildlife that builds their habitats in that area. At the present moment, there are 17 DuPont land conservation sites around the globe, all of which have been certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council. DuPont sites include a number in the United States, including New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia, as well as Mexico, Spain, and Luxembourg. For example, the Parlin Plant in New Jersey rests on 350 acres, 140 of which are completely available for the enhancement of wildlife habitats.

3) 2015 Sustainability Goals. To reach their 2015 Sustainability Goals, DuPont looks to increase a number of initiatives, including doubling their current investment into research and development programs that will provide quantifiable, direct environmental results, and increase their revenue by a minimum of $2 billion from products that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or increase energy efficiency. The goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by a minimum of 40 million tons.

4) Agriculture and Food Initiatives. DuPont has done a lot through its agriculture and food initiatives. this includes their Clean and Disinfect business supplies to keep food supply safe, like the Vikron S, which is a top veterinary disinfectant. Their Pioneer brand linolenic soybeans produce soybean oil, getting rid of hydrogenation, the process responsible for trans fats. In another joint venture, DuPont is involved with research and application of soy protein to meet the increased demand for more nutritious food products.

5) Communications Initiatives. DuPont has been a premier supplier for materials necessary to the communications industry for numerous years. Some of the communications initiatives include technology to miniaturize fuel cells for a number of consumer electronics, such as laptops and cell phones, to allow for continuous power without using too much energy. DuPont also has the Abandoned Cable Services which supported removal and recycling of all abandoned copper communications cable which is considered combustible and therefore bad for the environment.

6) Building and Construction Initiatives. DuPont has created a number of building and construction initiatives that provide additional sustainability. For example, the DuPont Tyvek Weatherization Systems are utilized by numerous homes to combat moisture, water and air infiltration. The Tyvek HomeWrap keeps rain and air out of the home and the Tyvek AtticWrap seals the attic system, reducing the possibility of air leakage and energy loss. DuPont also has a number of products that are currently being used in the construction of photovoltaic panels and are looking for next generation solutions to improve solar module efficiency and lifecycle.

7) Transportation Initiatives. With transportation a leading cause of a number of environmental challenges, DuPont seeks out a number of transportation initiatives to combat these effects. For instance, DuPont is looking to develop and commercialize fuel cell powered vehicles as well as created low-VOC emission automotive coatings. With BP, DuPont is looking to develop new biofuels that will be produced from agricultural byproducts.

8 ) Biofuel Initiatives. DuPont has been a leader in the biofuels industry for a number of years and as such, the company has a number of biofuels initiatives. In one initiative, DuPont partnered with BP to develop new advanced biofuels that would overcome the current limitations associated with existing biofuels. The first product created through this partnership with by biobutanol. As well, DuPont is doing research and development into a new cost-effective technology package that will convert a number of energy crops and agricultural byproducts like corn stalks and straw into biochemicals and biofuels.

9) Next Generation Refrigerant Initiatives. In 1991, DuPont led the move away from CFCs to HFCs because they do not deplete the ozone layer. HFCs also provide a great balance of cost, performance, environmental properties and safety when it comes to air conditioning and refrigeration. To look for long term sustainable alternative solutions, DuPont has come up with next generation refrigerant initiatives. These initiatives look to replace current refrigerants used in home refrigerators, supermarkets, store display cases, and automotive air conditioning systems that have high potential for increasing global warming. Currently, the refrigerants used for automotive air conditioning will be commercialized within the next few years.

10) Packaging Initiatives. DuPont is always looking for marketing solutions, which include packaging initiatives. DuPont Packaging has long been recognized as a leader in sustainable packaging and holds a number of industry leadership roles, including the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.

Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at shawn@watershedcapital.com

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Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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