DuPont's Pathways to Sustainability
a company to embark on a process of sustainable growth, Holliday
says, its leaders and its employees have to understand two critical
pieces of information. It has to know what it values and it has
to know how it creates value. Here, he talks about how DuPonts
transformation for sustainable growth plays out internally.
At DuPont, we have a very clear appreciation of both those
understandings. Our founder E. I. du Pont would recognize few of
the products we sell today. But he would have no trouble comprehending
the values that drive us. Safety, health and environ-mental stewardship;
integrity and high ethical standards; and treating people fairly
and with respect have been part of the DuPont culture from the beginning.
Every time we have changed over 200 years, the first step
in the change process has been to remind ourselves what the fixed
points on the compass are. Certain things are not negotiable. Those
are our values.
Another thing that 200 years of history has made very clear
to us is that we also know how we create value. At DuPont, we create
value with science and technology and the knowledge that goes with
In the 20th century we learned how to combine physics and
chemistry to create new materials such as nylon, Teflon®, Lycra®
and Kevlar® that changed the way the people build, move, communicate
and clothe themselves. By the 1980s it was apparent that at the
molecular level the sciences of chemistry and biology were beginning
to overlap, and it occurred to us that our future opportunities
would be as much in biology as in chemistry. We began to develop
our capability in biotechnology. We see in these sciences enormous
potential for meeting human needs and for making our future world
Integrating sciences is the first of
three pathways that will help us to become a sustainable growth
company. Consider biology and polymers. Thirty years ago
when I joined DuPont, a chemical industry executive wouldnt
have said those two words in the same breath. Thirty years from
now it will be hard to tell them apart. Were beginning to
discover how to use renewable crop ingredients, together with biological
organisms to modify them, to make materials we couldnt make
beforeor to make existing materials with reduced raw material
and energy inputs.
Our second pathway to sustainable growth
is knowledge intensityadding more knowledge content to what
we sell. For example, DuPont has entered into an agreement
with simplyengineering Corp. of Ontario to provide some of our engineering
know-how on the Internet. DuPont has more than 2,000 guidelines
and engineering programs that encompass every facet of operating
a plant. simplyengineering will host our copyrighted corporate engineering
guidelines, calculations and models and make the material available
on the Web site for licensing to global clients.
DuPont is also known around the world for our leadership in
work place safety. Today, this knowledge is a business trademarked
as Safe Returns and in the last six months we have added companies
totaling over 30,000 employees to the DuPont Safe Returns environment.
How does this make us more sustainable? By generating more value
with less stuff we make our company more sustainable.
Our third strategic pathway is productivity.
No company can afford not to be focused on productivity in todays
marketplace. At DuPont, we have adopted six sigma methodology. At
year-end 2000, we had 1,100 black belts and 1,700 green belts working
on 4,200 ongoing or completed projects. The annual run rate of our
pretax benefit from projects completed and underway exceeds $1 billion.
Nevertheless, I do not want to leave you with the impression
that we have it all figured out. We are a long way from being sustainable.
And because of that, I believe that it is valuable for a company
to set itself stretch goals that will help take it to the next level.
A "Value-Added" Metric -->>