Meet the Executives: Innovating for a Sustainable Future | AIChE

Meet the Executives of major companies like The Dow Chemical Company, Cargill, BASF and Owens Corning who will cover renewable fuels, biotechnology, commodity chemicals, pharmaceuticals and more. This panel discussion will provide insight into the keys to a sustainable future through sustainable processes and the necessity of innovation towards sustainable growth.

Related Interview

Supported by the AIChE Foundation.


  • S. Shariq Yosufzai, Vice President for Global Diversity, Ombuds, and University Affairs, Chevron


  • Shawn Feist, R&D Director, Growth Innovation, External Technology, and R&D Statistics, Core R&D, The Dow Chemical Company
  • Chris Mallett, Corporate Vice President, Research & Development, Cargill
  • Teressa Szelest, President, Market and Business Development North America, BASF
  • José Méndez-Andino, Vice President, Research & Development, Owens Corning Insulation

Sustaining Innovation / Innovating Sustainably

Shawn FeistR&D Director, Growth Innovation, External Technology, and R&D Statistics, Core R&DThe Dow Chemical Company

Optimism is at the heart of both innovation and sustainability.  Research creates discoveries that lead to inventions, creating innovations that make the world better.  R&D starts with the optimistic view that you can create something better.  It is an investment in the future, where resources remain for future generations.  At Dow, we’ve earned the ability to continue innovating based on our past performance.  R&D isn’t left to chance, we take steps to stack the deck by:

  • Rigorously manage our R&D portfolio based on quantifiable metrics
  • Focus on R&D productivity and timely delivery of technology
  • Collaborating to extend access to new inventions and to create customer intimacy
  • Application of technical excellence in both product and process design

Portfolio management, built on a well-established foundation, guides our efforts and incorporates sustainability and other metrics to influence decisions.  We use the life-cycle impact of our products to guide our efforts.  Far too often, hype has surpassed reality, boundary conditions have been neglected, and actions taken that do not truly lead to a sustainable future.  Looking across the life-cycle compels decisions to reduce raw material use, energy use and to limit toxics use.  Innovation will create a sustainable future.


Finding New Ways and Improved Ways of Nourishing Our World

Chris Mallett, Corporate Vice President, Research & Development, Cargill

An abstract will be available soon.


Creating Chemistry for a Sustainable Future

Teressa Szelest, President, Market and Business Development North America, BASF

Imagine a future where we can use our creativity and innovation power to help solve some of the largest global sustainability challenges of our times. Are we doing enough to enable this?

Investing in businesses that seek positive economic, ecological and social impact is becoming imperative. We will be judged by our communities, by our work-force, by the talent pool of Millennials, by investors. We will be judged in the courts of social media and public opinion. We have to act now; authentically, and for the right reasons.

Chemical companies are positioned uniquely to solve the global sustainability challenges. But we have to take a holistic look at these challenges; going beyond our typical value chains and including the larger eco-system of stakeholders. That is, going beyond current business models to co-creating solutions.

For example, Chemistry plays an active role in improving energy efficiency of homes. There are many opportunities to co-create solutions to improve this situation. BASF therefore, is partnering with other stakeholders to change state laws and make it easier to update residential building codes. This challenged us to work with new stakeholders: industry partners, architects, city planners, builders, citizens, governments and many more. This is what we mean by co-creation.

BASF is convinced of the importance of the UN Sustainability Development goals to our long-term success. This is not solely about recycling or bio-based raw materials; those are of course important. Moving forward, however, requires us to build upon existing platforms and address critical issues such as transparency, education, diversity and inclusion – to just name a few.

No single company can address all the seventeen UN sustainability development goals on their own. Co-creation is the way forward to address both the overlaps and the gaps.

Continued Delivery on Impactful Sustainable and Innovative Business and R&D Strategies

José Méndez-Andino, Vice President, Research & Development, Owens Corning Insulation

Expanding our impact through sustainability is a core value at Owens Corning. From the products we make to the way that we make them, sustainability is an essential element of our business.  We design innovative solutions that meet expectations of customers/markets and contribute toward addressing significant global issues such as energy conservation, environmental impact and overall quality of life.  We consistently leverage our technological expertise to deliver sustainability-driven innovations to the Insulation, Roofing and Composites markets. Our insulation products enhance energy efficiency; cool roof shingles help reduce air-conditioning and power consumption; reinforced lightweight glass-composites deliver superior mechanical properties with lower environmental impact than traditional materials.  Our business strategies promote innovative ways to achieve high-performing, greener and healthier products via high-efficiency manufacturing processes with reduced energy and water consumption.  The discussion in this panel will highlight Owens Corning’s innovative strides throughout its core businesses, its continued commitment to robust sustainability progress in its handprint and footprint, and the company’s significant safety improvement.

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