Advancing Safe and Sustainable Chemistry

December 7, 2020

For more than 20 years, the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production’s Chemicals Science and Policy Initiative has been a leading research and strategy effort focused on driving the transition to safer, more sustainable chemicals, materials, and products. The Initiative undertakes research and engagement projects with governments, industry, and non-profits aimed at accelerating three major transformations necessary to achieving its goals: A science transformation, a policy transformation, and a market transformation. The Chemicals Science and Policy Initiative collaborates with the Lowell Center’s sister Institute, the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI). TURI works with Massachusetts companies and communities to reduce the use of toxic chemicals and generation of toxic waste in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In recent years, the Initiative has collaborated with researchers across the UMass system to build a cross-disciplinary intercampus sustainable materials collaboration that positions the UMass as a leader in advancing the development, evaluation, and application of more sustainable chemicals and materials.

In its 20 years, the Initiative has: Supported the development and implementation of state and federal government policies in the U.S., Europe, and Canada focused on safer chemistry; built the science policy field of alternatives assessment (the systematic evaluation of alternatives to chemicals of concern), including supporting a National Academy of Sciences study and establishing the first interdisciplinary professional society for the field, the Association for the Advancement of Alternatives Assessment; and formed the first business membership association focused on accelerating the commercialization of green chemistry across sectors and the supply chain, the Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3). The GC3’s members represent trillions of dollars in purchasing power and represent major retailers, brands, chemical manufacturers, and innovative start ups.

Given increasing interest among European governments, investors, and business leaders in addressing chemical impacts, climate impacts, and material circularity through more integrated, comprehensive policies, our research has expanded to look at the role of green chemistry in advancing a circular economy and achieving climate, chemical toxicity, and waste goals through a transition from petrochemical feedstocks (the platform on which most fuels, materials, and chemicals are built) to sustainable renewable ones.

For more information on the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production’s Chemicals Science and Policy Initiative, contact CCI faculty member Joel Tickner.