MIDLAND, Mich.—Dow Inc.'s efforts to assist with COVID-19 relief include $3 million in donations and the conversion of plants across the globe to produce hand sanitizer.
Dow, in a March 23 news release, said it had begun production of hand sanitizer at its plant Stade, Germany, where it planned to make 300 metric tons of hand sanitizer per month—the equivalent of 600,000 standard 500-mL bottles. The sanitizer will be donated to pharmacies and hospitals in Stade and other regions in Germany.
Since then, Dow has doubled-down on its efforts to support the coronavirus fight by making hand sanitizer at other sites worldwide and donating it to those on the front lines.
The company said on March 30 that it would expand its hand sanitizer production by converting plants in Auburn, Mich.; South Charleston, W.Va.; Seneffe, Belgium; and Hortolandia, Brazil, to the manufacture of the product. These locations, Dow said, are uniquely equipped to help with the increased production of the sanitizing product.
"Dow does not typically produce hand sanitizer, but a large portion of the required raw materials are readily available at company sites," the firm said in a news release. "In addition, Dow's asset flexibility allows for a meaningful volume of sanitizer to be produced with little to no impact to normal operations."
The Auburn facility has the ability to produce about 7 tons of product each week—enough for 30,000 8-oz. bottles. Other locations are expecting to have similar production capacities, combining for a collective output of more than 200 tons, or 880,000 8-oz. bottles.
Dow said the hand sanitizer production is expected to continue for about a month. Afterward, the company will determine if its is necessary to continue with the production, based on the availability of raw material and need for the product.
The company has earmarked hand sanitizer donations for:
- The state of Michigan;
- THRIVE (Transforming Health Regionally in a Vibrant Economy), a co-led initiative between the Michigan Health Improvement Alliance and the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, for distribution to area hospitals and first responders in the Great Lakes Bay Region;
- The state of West Virginia;
- The cities of Charleston and South Charleston, W.Va.;
- The Federal Government of Belgium; and
- Public hospitals in the cities of Campinas, Hortolandia and Jundiaí, Brazil
"We are proud to put our global assets to work to help combat the spread of the coronavirus," CEO Jim Fitterling said in a news release. "The combined efforts of our five sites around the world enables us to produce and donate a tremendous amount of this much-needed product to help protect human health and safety. This effort has been made possible through the swift efforts of Team Dow, in collaboration with raw material suppliers, state and federal regulatory officials and volunteers."
In a March 23 news release, officials with Midland-based Dow said the firm will donate $3 million to global relief organizations, as well as nonprofits in communities where Dow operates.
The donation will include $2 million for immediate support of impacts caused by COVID-19, including donations to support World Health Organization efforts around the world.
Funds also will go to Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organization distributing medical supplies, to local and regional non-profit organizations in Dow communities around the globe and to other funds earmarked for emerging needs. Dow also will give $1 million to build community resilience in the recovery phase.
Dow officials said these donations will help distribute essential supplies, such as personal protective equipment to frontline health workers. The donations also will help protect the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergency situations by mobilizing and providing essential medical resources.
"Safety is our top priority at Dow," Fitterling said. "With the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19 impacting our world, we are committed to helping protect the health and safety of our employees and communities, while deploying our business solutions where they are needed most."
Howard Ungerleider, Dow's president and chief financial officer, added that through this initial commitment, Dow "is sending immediate financial support to organizations directly addressing the COVID-19 crisis and working to protect the resiliency of our communities."
Frank Esposito of Plastics News contributed to this report.