Corporate Responsibility

Dow wins Sustainability Product of the Year Award for second year running

The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) has won the ‘Sustainability Product of the Year’ for the second consecutive time in the prestigious Business Intelligence Group’s Sustainability Awards Program. Dow won the award for VORAGUARD Polyol, a ComfortScience technology for mattresses with built-in safety properties and sustainable environmental profile.

VORAGUARD is a patented polymer polyol for flexible polyurethane foam production designed to exhibit inherent flammability resistance properties and excellent load-bearing, in addition to having very-low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emission characteristics. The sustainability features stem from the fact that many post-consumer mattresses are incinerated to avoid landfills and capture energy. As foams made with VORAGUARD do not need halogenated flame retardants to meet fire safety standards, this can reduce the potential formation and release to the atmosphere of certain hazardous compounds during the combustion process.

VORAGUARD was designed from the outset to offer an advantaged environmental profile compared to alternative materials used to manufacture combustion-modified polyurethane foams. The product is free from restricted compounds such as styrene and organo-tin catalysts. The production process itself requires reduced amounts of energy as the raw materials do not require heating or cooling and produces significantly lower amounts of scrap during production.

“VORAGUARD was judged to have made significant technical progress since 2017, which is why we were eligible to resubmit it for competition again this year,” said Paul Cookson, senior R&D manager for ComfortScience at Dow Polyurethanes. “We challenged ourselves to remove the halogens from the foam, while retaining flame retardancy, and to make new formulation developments that would expand the use of VORAGUARD further into traditional mattress and furniture foams. We succeeded in meeting this challenge, and we are delighted that this has been recognized by the judges at the Sustainability Awards.”

“In anticipation of stricter European regulations on halogenated flame retardants, Dow is developing technologies that push beyond what is merely required to those that will help our customers future-proof their businesses,” Jon Penrice, vice president EMEAI at Dow Polyurethanes commented. “By ensuring foams can meet the most stringent fire safety standards without halogenated flame retardants, and guarantee ultra-low VOC emissions, we are getting closer to our goal of developing ‘One Foam for Europe,’ one mattress type that can be sold anywhere across the continent. This we believe will significantly reduce waste and manufacturing complexities, while also promising the end consumer a cleaner, safer sleep.”

“We are proud to reward and recognize Dow for their sustainability efforts,” said Maria Jimenez, Chief Nominations Officer, Business Intelligence Group. “It was clear to our judges that their vision and strategy will continue to deliver results toward a cleaner, more sustainable world. Congratulations!” Every year, Business Intelligence Group presents the Sustainability Awards to honour companies that have made sustainability an integral part of their business practice.