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Dow Corning employees learn while serving in India

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CEO Burns Calls New Initiative “Living Laboratory” for Innovation through Service

Ten Dow Corning employees from company locations across the globe are heading to Bangalore, India this month as part of Dow Corning’s new Citizen Service Corps. The employees volunteered to leave their jobs and families for one month in order to experience a unique, hands-on opportunity designed to expand their understanding of emerging markets and fuel innovation through service to others.  

“The volunteers will experience the world from a new vantage point and discover what it is like to live and work in an emerging economy,” said Dow Corning Chairman, President and CEO Stephanie A. Burns. “In doing so, they will gain firsthand knowledge of the everyday challenges and needs of the people who live there and the companies and organizations that serve them. The program will serve as a living laboratory for Dow Corning to explore new business opportunities that have the potential to improve the quality of life for people who do not currently benefit from the company’s silicon-based technology.”

Dow Corning Citizen Service Corps projects are designed to make a tangible, valuable and sustainable contribution to the local community or communities where they serve. Their experiences will also increase Dow Corning’s understanding of how to better serve the people and businesses in these regions. While in Bangalore, the employees will be divided into teams dedicated to the work of the following organizations:

  • The Technology Informatics Design Endeavor and its social enterprise Sustaintech to assist with developing quality control systems for the manufacture of cook stoves, improving efficiencies in its supply chain and targeting business customers serving the base of the pyramid
  • Envirofit India to help with research and analysis of the needs and demands of  rural customers when buying cook stoves, so it can develop a more effective strategic plan for marketing and sales to those customers
  • Ashoka, a non-government organization (NGO) to help create a business/social model for the inclusion of renewable energy products in affordable/low-income housing.

Dr. Stuart Hart, author of the book Capitalism at the Crossroads advises, “Business, more than either government or civil society, is uniquely equipped, at this point in history, to lead us toward a sustainable world in the years ahead. Properly focused, the profit motive can accelerate—not inhibit—the transformation toward global sustainability, with nonprofits, governments, and multilateral agencies all playing crucial roles as collaborators.

“Programs such as the Dow Corning Citizen Service Corps program can offer tangible, valuable and sustainable benefits, not only for the companies and organizations they will be working with in the field and the communities they serve, but also for their employees and the company.”

Dow Corning is working with CDC Development Solutions, a nonprofit economic development firm based in Washington, D.C.  The firm specializes in programs that leverage the talents of employee volunteers in support of small- and medium-size enterprises, non-government organizations, governments, and educational institutions in emerging markets.

Dow Corning Citizens Corps participants come from our sites in Belgium, India, Korea, Mexico and the U.S. In order to be considered for the program, applicants had to demonstrate personal attributes of successful volunteers, including adaptability, a positive attitude, resourcefulness, responsibility and a sense of humor. Their length of service with the company varies from 2.5 years to more than 20.

The Dow Corning Citizen Service Corps team will chronicle their day-to-day experiences, successes and challenges while in Bangalore in a blog at

Dow Corning hopes to offer similar opportunities to other teams of employees in the future.

About Dow Corning

Dow Corning provides performance-enhancing solutions to serve the diverse needs of more than 25,000 customers worldwide. A global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, Dow Corning offers more than 7,000 products and services via the company’s Dow Corning® and XIAMETER® ( brands. Dow Corning is equally owned by The Dow Chemical Company and Corning, Incorporated. More than half of Dow Corning’s annual sales are outside the United States. Dow Corning’s global operations adhere to the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care® initiative, a stringent set of standards designed to advance the safe and secure management of chemical products and processes.

Dow Corning is also the majority shareholder in the Hemlock Semiconductor Group ( joint ventures, which includes Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation and Hemlock Semiconductor, L.L.C. Hemlock Semiconductor is a leading provider of polycrystalline silicon and other silicon-based products used in the manufacturing of semiconductor devices and solar cells and modules. Hemlock Semiconductor began operations in 1961 and has announced more than $4 billion of investments since 2005.

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