Director of Sustainability – DuPont
Dawn Rittenhouse is a dedicated, inspiring, and tireless champion of environmental progress. Through her professional achievements at DuPont, mentoring & development of colleagues, and contributions to her community Dawn has had a tremendous positive impact on sustainable development at the local, national, and even global levels.
She is a graduate of Duke University with degrees in Chemistry and Economics. After graduating she went to work for DuPont. From 1980 until 1997, she held various positions in Technical Service, Sales, Marketing, and Product Management with the Packaging and Industrial Polymers and Crop Protection businesses. Late in 1997, she started working within the corporate organization to assist DuPont businesses in integrating sustainability into their strategic and business management processes which lead to her current position of Director of Sustainability.
Dawn advanced DuPont to the forefront of the sustainability movement with her leadership, dedication, knowledge and energy. DuPont is a recognized sustainability leader in the US and internationally as a result of her work. Her passion for environmental conservation and protection has led to significant results through all of her professional & volunteer activities. She has a deep understanding of the unique role women play in these efforts. She makes things happen in a quiet but effective manner. She brings people together to work toward a common goal and gets the best results. What she started at DuPont in 1997 with no budget or staff has become one of the most integrated and well-respected sustainability programs in the world.
“Throughout her career, Dawn has been an innovator and pioneer who has earned the respect of her peers within the sustainability field,” said Linda J. Fisher, former Vice President of Safety, Health and Environment and Chief Sustainability Officer at DuPont. “Beginning with our first set of footprint goals set in 1989 to our most recent goals embedding sustainability into our innovation process, Dawn has worked to make DuPont a leader in sustainability — both in how we run our operations and in our product portfolio. She is a true change maker.”
She leads DuPont’s efforts at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the United Nations Global Compact. Dawn is currently is on the Sustainability Council at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, the Corporate Consultive Group Advisory Group of World Resources Institute, the Board of Trustees of the Nature Conservancy of Delaware and the Board of Directors of the Delaware Nature Society.
Dawn is active in local sustainability initiatives in her community, which include supporting research, education and land conservation activities in the Delaware River and Bay estuary through the Clear into the Future program and overseeing the management of wildlife habitat on company properties at locations around the world.
Dawn has also played an important role as a mentor to many people. She is very well known and respected in the corporate sustainability space as someone who is in many ways one of the founders of the field. She is admired for her knowledge, 36+ years of experience working at DuPont, and ability to cut straight to the essence of a particular challenge and look for solutions. She is focused, pragmatic, genuine, and determined. She has built a successful career and an outstanding reputation within a company and an industry that was (and still is to a certain extent) dominated by men in leadership positions.