Dow is announcing plans today to build the world’s first zero-carbon ethylene and polyethylene complex at its Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, facility. The project will convert emitted gas into clean hydrogen fuel and capture and store CO2 emissions, while tripling production at the site. The ambitious project will be a big step toward reaching Dow’s goal of reducing emissions from its operations 30% by 2030, on the road to carbon neutrality in 2050. It’s another sign that companies are moving from promise to action on the climate change front.
The catch, of course, is that facility will be producing materials for plastic, which many think is itself an environmental scourge. “Plastics are going to continue to grow,” CEO Jim Fitterling told me. “Plastics are already the lowest CO2 footprint of any packaging. This will take it to zero.” Dow also announced several projects to improve recycling of plastics, but on that score, the progress is harder to see. “When you are dealing with waste, it is so much more discreet, it takes a lot of projects to move the needle, and it’s very local.”
I asked Fitterling why he was making his big green investment in Canada instead of the U.S. “First, we have access to carbon capture at Fort Saskatchewan,” he said. “The second part is, Canada has a price on carbon,” which provides an incentive to decarbonize.
Separately, Maurice Jones, CEO of OneTen, and Byron Auguste, CEO of Opportunity@Work, have written a powerful piece for Fortune arguing companies need to drop unnecessary degree requirements for jobs, and focus instead on skills. “We were both raised in Black families of moderate means, and over the course of our careers we have seen the many forms that talent, skill and potential can take…When companies require a four-year degree, they screen out more than two-thirds of today’s Black workers for a wide range of jobs that pay a family-sustaining wage without even assessing the skills that could qualify them for those roles.”
Also this morning, is the stock market bubble finally bursting? Fortune’s Shawn Tully weighs in, here.
Whistleblower Frances Haugen yesterday told a Senate subcommittee that Facebook, her former employer, is "morally bankrupt" and in need of a crackdown. Haugen: "There is nobody currently holding Zuckerberg accountable but himself." Zuckerberg's response: "At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being. That's just not true." Fortune
Amplify Energy faces a class action over the weekend oil spill in southern California. The Texan company says it is trying to confirm the source of the spill, off Huntington Beach. A DJ is leading the suit, claiming loss of business. Reuters
Merck is charging the U.S. government $712 for a five-day course of its potentially revolutionary COVID-19 antiviral, molnupiravir. However, it only costs Merck $17.74 to produce, meaning Merck is selling at a roughly 40x mark-up. Merck got the rights to the drug from Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, which licensed it from Emory University—molnupiravir was developed with government funding—two months previously. The Intercept
Google has revamped its services to steer users toward relatively environmentally-friendly options, whether it be searches for new dishwashers, different driving routes, or flights and hotels. CEO Sundar Pichai: "Individually, these choices might feel small. But when you multiply them together across our products, it’s going to equal big transformations for the planet." Bloomberg
AROUND THE WATER COOLER
Soros Fund Management and Elliott Management are shying away from China for now, because of the regulatory crackdowns there. However, as Man Group CEO Luke Ellis says: "What China is doing is quite explicit, but it’s not that different than what we see in a lot of the Western markets." Fortune
Europe's energy crunch has at least one set of short-term winners: gas-peaker operators, whose small generation plants are in high demand right now. As Sophie Mellor writes: "[Arlington Energy founder Matt Clare] says he and his partner started the firm to invest in gas peakers after they connected the dots on a pattern showing coal plants being decommissioned, few nuclear plants being built, and a general distaste for using very large gas plants." Fortune
Kristine Gill has a great summary of the lessons shared at Fortune's recent Global Sustainability Forum by leaders of companies such as 3M, Coca-Cola, FedEx, Sony, GM, and Colgate-Palmolive. Fortune
Friday should see the conclusion of negotiations over the new global tax regime. However, political hurdles remain between now and the likely 2023 implementation of the deal, in the U.S. and the EU. Politico
This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.
This is the web version of CEO Daily, a daily newsletter of must-read insights from Fortune CEO Alan Murray. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.