In January 2011, The Nature Conservancy and The Dow Chemical Company announced a breakthrough collaboration—one that will help Dow and the business community recognize, value and incorporate nature into global business goals, decisions and strategies.

Over the course of five years, scientists from The Nature Conservancy and Dow will work together at three pilot sites (North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific) to implement and refine models that support corporate decision-making related to the value and resources nature provides. Together, we are choosing sites that will be distributed around the world—and at each site, we will be looking for opportunities to take what we’ve learned there and transfer knowledge globally. These sites will serve as a “living laboratories”— places where we will validate and test our methods and models so they can be used to inform more sustainable business decisions at Dow and hopefully influence the decision-making and business practices of other companies.

This Collaboration is an example of how companies and organizations from different sectors can work together to make real change happen. Our intention is that it will serve as a model for how other companies can incorporate the value of nature into their decision-making, and increase investment in protecting the planet’s natural systems and the services they provide.

Our site selection criteria (which looked at regions with both conservation and business priorities), helped us identify Dow’s Texas Operations in Freeport as the first pilot location to begin testing and applying the science of valuing nature. The second pilot site will be located in Santa Vitória, Brazil, at the site of a cooperating joint venture company, Santa Vitoria Acucar eAlcool Ltda. (SVVA), formed by Dow and Mitsui & Co. Ltd. We are working together to identify the remaining pilot site and will have more details in late 2012.