The University of California-Berkeley, University of Minnesota, Northeastern University and 10 other colleges and universities that have signed the Green Chemistry Commitment, intended to increase the number of green chemists and scientists in the US and the business opportunities available to them.
The program, organized by nonprofit Beyond Benign, is currently recruiting industry partners. The other 10 signatories are: Bridgewater State University, Gordon College, Grand Valley State University, Kingsborough Community College, Michigan Technological University, Simmons College, South Dakota State University, St. Catherine University, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Washington College.
The green chemistry industry — which is working to develop safer, non-toxic, renewable chemistry and materials — will grow to more than 100 billion dollars by 2020 from less than 3 billion in 2011, with more than 20 billion of that growth in the US, according to a 2011 Navigant Research report. The use of green chemistry will save the chemical industry more than 65.5 billion dollars by 2020, the report says.
Green chemistry consists of chemicals and chemical processes designed to reduce or eliminate negative environmental impacts. The use and production of these chemicals may involve reduced waste products, non-toxic components, and improved efficiency. Green chemistry is a highly effective approach to pollution prevention because it applies innovative scientific solutions to real-world environmental situations.
Green Chemistry Commitment signatories say supporting green chemistry education gives chemical companies a competitive advantage by providing a quicker time to market by reducing the environmental impact of manufacturing, reducing worker injury by minimizing exposure to toxic chemicals, processes and waste; and increasing efficiency and productivity of new employees who are better prepared after graduating from academic programs.
By signing the commitment, colleges and universities agree that, upon graduation, all chemistry majors will have proficiency in the essential green chemistry competencies of theory, toxicology, lab skills and practical application.