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Advancing Green Chemistry Education

Background

The vast majority of chemistry students receive little or no education in how chemical design may affect health or sustainability. Similarly, most industrial chemists, designers, and business managers have received little training in green chemistry, toxicology, lifecycle evaluation, or sustainability. For green chemistry to thrive, there is a need for professionals who are well-educated in green chemistry concepts, including green chemical design, toxicology, lifecycle evaluation, and environmental policy. The lack of such education can present a barrier to advancing green chemistry within firms and supply chains, especially when price and performance may take precedent over environmental impacts. Companies increasingly want to chemists, engineers, designers and business managers who have sustainability knowledge.

Current Project

This year the group will develop a webinar-based green chemistry and safer alternatives training curriculum that can be offered to GC3 members and other companies.  The group has outlined the training needs of different job categories as well as the components of a training program.  The webinar-based training curriculum will be available on the GC3 website, including the webinars, corresponding to specific training modules, as well as supplemental information.  The website framework will be completed by fall, 2014 and the content will continue to be developed.
 
The group is also collaborating with the University of Washington DEOHS Continuing Education and the Washington State Department of Ecology to develop a 1 day in person training for EH&S professionals in Seattle, in early 2015.   If there is sufficient interest, the group will also collaborate on a 1-2 day in person training for a specific firm or government agency. These trainings would be designed to bring together multiple job functions to enhance understanding and communication of green chemistry and safer alternatives within a company, and externally along a supply chain.
 
The GC3 would like to expand the list of signatories to the GC3 Policy Statement on Green Chemistry in Higher Education, using the statement as a tool to conduct outreach with policy makers, university administrators, and research agencies to reiterate the GC3 support for chemists and other professionals trained in green chemistry and safer alternatives.  The Michigan Green Chemistry Program has developed a checklist to benchmark company implementation of the commitments in the policy statement.  This checklist- will be piloted on a small set of GC3 and other companies that have signed the statement and will be revised based on these pilots.

Past Accomplishments

The group developed the GC3 Policy Statement on Green Chemistry in Higher Education, an industry "policy statement" in support of green chemistry education at the university level and in continuing education. The position statement has been signed by 19 GC3 companies, along with 11 GC3 partner organizations. The statement includes commitments to: (1) support green chemistry education and research in higher education across disciplines, within the firm and through the supply chain; (2) hire new professional staff with training in green chemistry and sustainability all other aspects equal; and (3) embed green chemistry in product development and sourcing. The policy statement provides synergies with Beyond Benign's university commitment for green chemistry education.

The GC3 would like to expand the list of signatories, using the statement as a tool to conduct outreach with policy makers, university administrators, and research agencies to reiterate the GC3 support for chemists and other professionals trained in green chemistry and safer alternatives. The Michigan Green Chemistry Program is developing a checklist to benchmark company implementation of the commitments in the policy statement. This checklist will be piloted on a small set of GC3 and other companies that have signed the statement.

For more information or to join the project group, contact Saskia VanBergen.

Working Documents

Current Input Requested

If you have: training materials, curriculum, exercises or case examples (or know of organizations that have them available) that could fit into the various module categories below – either in house curriculum/materials/case examples, ones that you know of on the web, etc. please email them to us.

Based on this collected curriculum, we will determine what new materials need to be developed with the goal of testing the curriculum next spring.

Notes from Past Calls 

Project Documents