Interview: Combining chemistry, biology and physics for human progress

The UAE serves as the hub for Dow's growing business and organisational presence in the India, Middle East, Africa & Turkey region. Luciano Poli, president, Dow Chemical Company, India, Middle East & Turkey, explains his firm's activities in the region.

Luciano Poli, president, The Dow Chemical Company, India, Middle East and Turkey.
Luciano Poli, president, The Dow Chemical Company, India, Middle East and Turkey.

The UAE serves as the hub for Dow's growing business and organisational presence in the India, Middle East, Africa and Turkey region. Luciano Poli, president, The Dow Chemical Company, India, Middle East and Turkey, explains his company's activities in the region.

Please elaborate on the core offerings of The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) for the refining and petrochemicals manufacturing industry.

At Dow, we combine chemistry, biology and physics to create what is essential to human progress. The company is geared for driving innovations that extract value from material, polymer, chemical and biological science to help address many of the world’s most challenging problems, such as the need for fresh food, safer and more sustainable transportation, clean water, energy efficiency, more durable infrastructure, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow’s integrated, market-driven portfolio delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions in high-growth sectors such as packaging, infrastructure, transportation, consumer care, electronics, and agriculture.

Can you please explain your operations/activities in the UAE and the region?

We have been present in the UAE for over 35 years, delivering a broad range of products to our local customers across many industries, including packaging, building and construction, oil and gas, and water solutions. Our innovative solutions are applied in the construction, coatings, petrochemicals, energy and water industries, and our sustainable products and solutions are found in many of the region’s iconic developments.

Dow was one of the first companies to set up operation in Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) and have grown together over the years to expand our services for the region. Our investment in Jafza builds on Dow’s presence for more than thirty years in the UAE and demonstrates Dow’s continued commitment to the country, while providing companies from around the world a platform to do business smoothly in the Middle East and beyond. This growth was further accelerated with the establishment of a transport corridor between Jafza and Dubai World Central which provides companies with access to land, sea and air links.

Dow’s Jebel Ali facility, one of the first investments in JAFZA, is a key player in advancing innovation. It provides regional coatings and construction customers with the most advanced materials available in the industry. The site also houses technical application centres in paints, coatings and microbial control, which means local supply of key products in the UAE versus importing.

We are also very proud of the fact that Dow in the UAE received the prestigious Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MRM) Business Excellence Award this year.

How has Dow maintained a balance between business growth and giving back to the community?

For Dow, our business objectives have been to address the world’s most pressing challenges, enhancing the quality of life for current and future generations, all the while creating long-term sustainable value for the company, our customers and shareholders. Therefore, our solutions are aimed at transitioning the way we live, while helping build a sustainable planet for present and future generations.

Dow is the Official Chemistry Company of the Olympic Games and is dedicated to helping Olympic Organising Committees achieve a long-lasting, positive sustainability legacy. Through a framework developed and implemented by Dow, the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games were the first Olympic Games where the direct carbon footprint of the Host Committee was mitigated before the Opening Ceremony. As the Official Carbon Partner of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee, Dow worked on the most comprehensive carbon mitigation programme in the history of the Games.

Moreover, as Dubai develops its vision to be a Smart City, we foresee numerous Dow products and technologies playing an everyday role in this vision. Dow continually works towards developing multiple applications of Dow’s products which are part of everyone’s daily life. This includes drinking water treatment and water reuse, flooring, insulation, energy efficiency, efficient packaging, green and cool roofing, gas treatment and latest power-generation technologies, among others.

Also our 2025 sustainability goals focus on how we are looking to improve the well-being of humanity, by offering solutions that are not only good for business but also for people everywhere. These goals also address each of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and incorporate the value of nature and society into all of our business decisions. We aim to build a better future, not only by reducing unsustainable actions, but by proactively collaborating with different groups to create a better tomorrow.

At Dow, we are keen to foster a culture which allows our employees to innovate and collaborate. In our offices across the region, we develop numerous programmes, which nurture talent, while also ensuring the well-being of our employees. That is why Dow has been recognised as one of the best places to work in the Middle East multiple times in multiple locations by the Top Employers Institute.

Can you please tell us about Dow’s AEO certification and working with Dubai Customs?

As part of Dow’s global strategy to participate in local customs security programmes, Dow in the UAE has been awarded the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) certification from the UAE Federal Customs Authority for all its UAE operating legal entities. The UAE Federal Customs Authority launched its AEO programme in the beginning of 2016 and offered Dow the opportunity to participate in this programme as one of the ten pilot companies. The programme has been designed to boost the country’s foreign trade and create seamless commercial links between the UAE and the rest of the world.

Dow was one of the first companies in the UAE to achieve this important certification. The UAE AEO programme has provided Dow with a strong competitive advantage to better serve its customers in the region through a secure, expedited and streamlined supply chain process. We have a history spanning three decades of doing business in the UAE and the government has consistently supported us by extending an environment which is conducive to commercial activities.

The AEO certification process is aimed at demonstrating the quality and reliability of company processes, procedures, systems, competencies and security measures involved in international trade. The certification also provides Dow a host of commercial benefits including faster customer clearance, prioritisation in inspections, reduced post-clearance audits, the option of self-disclosure of error without penalties, and a dedicated Customers Key Account Manager.

Can you please give us some details about Dow’s collaborations in the region?

Dow has a long-standing relationship with the Middle East and have been present in the region for more than 50 years. Since then, Dow has established a solid presence in the Middle East petrochemicals industry, partnering with leading regional companies to set up state-of-the-art petrochemical complexes across the region. Some of Dow’s world-class joint ventures in the region include Sadara, a world-scale integrated chemicals complex in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and EQUATE Petrochemical Company in Kuwait which was established in 1997.

Dow Middle East Innovation Centre at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia is another great example of Dow’s investment in the region and its utmost commitment towards creating innovative solutions for its customers across industries and sectors.

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