Green Chemistry and Innovation

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People often discuss "barriers" to the implementation of green chemistry. This leads to the impression that there is some form of "push back" in the market for sustainable technologies. However, if a technology has attractive performance and cost attributes, it is unlikely that the additional presence of "sustainable" attributes will inhibit its adoption. Most often the "push back" in the market is related NOT to the sustainability aspect, but to the absence of sufficient performance and cost aspects of a product. History has shown us that for a technology to be successful in the market place, it cannot depend solely on its "sustainability" but must also be consistent with traditional drivers. Developing successful green chemistry technologies therefore is fundamentally a challenge in innovation at the molecular level. An important reason why technology organizations have a difficult time meeting this challenge is that most academic chemistry and materials science programs do not adequately teach students techniques to help them design products that are sustainable. Universities around the world are finding ways to add the principles of green chemistry into their curriculum, and one day most, if not all, scientists will have the adequate training - but this will take time. Until the entire chemistry work force is fully trained in green chemistry, organizations that have internalized green chemistry for themselves will enjoy significant competitive advantage.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeaching and Learning about Sustainability
EditorsIrvin J. Levy, Catherine H. Middlecamp
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780841231047
ISBN (Print)9780841231030
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameACS Symposium Series
ISSN (Print)0097-6156
ISSN (Electronic)1947-5918


  • Societies and institutions
  • Competition
  • Curricula
  • Commerce
  • Product design

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