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New Contributor III

Ask the Innovators: What will it take to Mainstream Green Chemistry?

On March 28th please join us on the Green Chemistry Innovation Portal for the third Ask the Innovators event: “What will it take to Mainstream Green Chemistry?” The mainstreaming of green chemistry is defined as when all chemistry — including chemistry and engineering research, education, and policy — becomes green chemistry. For an introduction to this topic, see this recent report from the GC3. During our online discussion, you can ask the author of the report, along with experts from industry and academia about what they think are the barriers to mainstream green chemistry, and what will have to happen to overcome them.

The experts joining us for this session:

  • Amy Perlmutter, Perlmutter Associates
    Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3) Mainstreaming Project Lead
    Amy Perlmutter is an independent consultant whose practice includes strategy, stakeholder engagement, communications, and facilitation to build the green economy.  She serves as the Project Lead of the Mainstreaming Group for the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3) and is the author of the GC3’s Agenda to Mainstream Green Chemistry. Prior to consulting, Amy was the founding director of the Chelsea Center for Recycling and Economic Development, working with businesses, researchers, and government to increase the use of recyclable materials in manufacturing processes in Massachusetts.  She has also served as the Director of Recycling for the City of San Francisco. Amy holds a BA in International Studies and Environmental Policy from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MPA from Harvard University. She is a Fellow at the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production.

  • Babette Pettersen, BioAmber
    Senior Advisor
    Babette Pettersen currently serves as a Senior Advisor to BioAmber Inc., a market leader in bio-based succinic acid and a pioneer in renewable chemicals, where she held the role of Chief Commercial Officer since 2013. Ms. Pettersen built BioAmber's commercial team to develop applications for bio-based succinct acid across multiple markets. Under her leadership, Ms. Pettersen's team created market demand for, and accelerated market adoption of, more sustainable solutions throughout the value chain that are based on green chemistry.  Before joining BioAmber, Ms. Pettersen led new business development for Performance Materials at Royal DSM. Prior to DSM, Babette held Marketing & New Business Development roles in different industry groups at Dow Corning. Ms. Pettersen has a BSc in Biology from Wellesley College, USA and an MBA from INSEAD, France.

  • Eric Beckman, University of Pittsburgh
    Professor of Engineering and Co-Director of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
    Eric Beckman received his Ph.D. in polymer science and engineering from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1988. As a Professor of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, he and his research group examine the use of molecular design to solve problems in green engineering and in the design of materials for use in tissue engineering. In 2003, Dr. Beckman helped to create the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, a school of engineering institute that examines the design of more sustainable infrastructure. In 2005, Dr. Beckman co-founded Cohera Medical Inc. (with Michael Buckley) to commercialize surgical adhesive technology developed at the University. Dr. Beckman’s research group has produced over 200 publications in the area of molecular design and more than 40 patents.

  • Martin Wolf, Seventh Generation, Inc.
    Director, Sustainability & Authenticity
    Martin Wolf is responsible for ensuring the design of sustainable products at Seventh Generation, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of ecological household and personal care products. Mr. Wolf brings over 40 years of experience in industrial and environmental chemistry to his work, starting with environmental fate and metabolism studies for agricultural chemicals, followed by studies of the occurrence of hazardous chemicals in the environment, conducting life cycle studies of product systems, and designing more sustainable household cleaning products. At Seventh Generation, Mr. Wolf has developed frameworks for environmental product design, helped educate his coworkers, customers, and consumers about the environmental impacts of consumer products, successfully lobbied for passage of phosphate bans in several states, helped develop standards for voluntary ingredient disclosure, and brought change to the cleaning products industry through more sustainable product designs. Mr. Wolf holds an M.A. in Chemistry from Yeshiva University (New York) and a B.S. in Chemistry from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Massachusetts).

Ask the experts anything you like: Why isn’t green chemistry mainstream practice now? What are the new innovations that will transform the industry? What business strategies, government policies, and strategic partnerships are needed to make all chemistry, green chemistry?

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New Contributor III

Re: Ask the Innovators: What will it take to Mainstream Green Chemistry?

Looking forward to the discussion!

I'm wondering whether the panelists have specific ideas or examples of the types of fundamental scientific or technological breakthroughs that would help us move down the path toward mainstreaming green chemistry?

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Re: Ask the Innovators: What will it take to Mainstream Green Chemistry?

Hi all - congratulations on all the great work you are doing.  I think you are asking the right questions!

I am wondering what you see as the role of capital markets in getting green chemistry to scale?  How should investors be engaged in a meaningful way to create indices, funds, or other investment products (for example green bonds) targeted toward solutions that involve green chemistry?

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Re: Ask the Innovators: What will it take to Mainstream Green Chemistry?

Good afternoon panelists!

My question relates more to academia - how do you think lecturers and professors should approach cirriculum modifications and where do you think they should start?

Thank you

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New Contributor III

Re: Ask the Innovators: What will it take to Mainstream Green Chemistry?

Sounds like a great group of panelists. A couple of questions:

1) What can academics do to accelerate the mainstreaming of green chemistry? Partnering with businesses to address real-world green chemistry needs is critical, but are there other approaches that are being underutilized?

2) What are the challenges a small business or start-up in green chemistry is likely to encounter, and how can it overcome them?

Thanks for your time!

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New Contributor

Re: Ask the Innovators: What will it take to Mainstream Green Chemistry?

Looks like a great panel. This is such an important topic and I have several questions, I'll stick to a few!

a) Like Erika I'm interested in the changes that are needed in education to embed Green Chemistry in the undergraduate and postgraduate curricula, but particularly how can this be done in a system where lecturers guard their independence to teach as and what they choose and where there is a lot of competition to include new topics in a fast changing chemistry environment.

b) Can Green Chemistry be mainstreamed without wider policy changes that embed the external environmental costs of new products, such as the impacts of mining for metals or pollution from disposal? If policy changes are required how should chemists be involved in calling for those policy changes?

c) Developing new products that use green chemistry approaches and that are truly sustainable needs more than just chemists - it needs engineers, biologists, banks, businesses, social scientists - how can we develop chemists who have those broader perspectives and connections to consider the holistic picture of what they are creating and have greater potential for it reaching society?

And..on a positive note...in Europe, the changing funding landscape is leading to more chemists focusing on green or sustainable chemistry.

Looking forward to hearing the answers.

Jennie

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Re: Ask the Innovators: What will it take to Mainstream Green Chemistry?

I actually have two main questions:

1) Do we have enough feedstock and technological solutions available (now) to substitute or compete with non-renewable chemistry?

2) What will the role of biorefineries be in this process? Do we need to transform our industrial system into a Web of Biorefineries in order to reach this goal?

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Contributor II

Re: Ask the Innovators: What will it take to Mainstream Green Chemistry?

Hello,

I'm looking forward to this discussion. I'm interested in metrics for green chemistry and how you think the community can drive this conversation forward. In conversations with various companies, I have gathered that it is difficult for companies to ascribe sustainability improvements to green chemistry specifically. What are realistic metrics that can capture this data without becoming a burden to manufacturers and others producing products using chemistry?

Christiana

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Re: Ask the Innovators: What will it take to Mainstream Green Chemistry?

People often talk about integrating systems thinking into the curriculum.  Can you describe the attributes of systems thinking that will be the most important for mainstreaming green chemistry and how should universities go about integrating these into the curriculum?

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Re: Ask the Innovators: What will it take to Mainstream Green Chemistry?

There is no single breakthrough that would help us move down the path to mainstreaming green chemistry. Rather than a single scientific or technological breakthrough, a series of commercial successes would be the strongest sign of success, where a combination of technical performance, improved sustainability and competitive economics meets a market need (or needs), new products based on green chemistry are launched, and revenue is generated.