Promoting Green Chemistry Innovation

The GC3 Collaborative Innovation Program is developing new collaborative models for advancing green chemistry innovation to bring new, safer chemicals and materials to market and encourage their adoption.

Many GC3 members are looking for novel, safe, effective, and perhaps natural chemical ingredients or materials for their products and are willing to set aside their competitive instincts to collaboratively search for, evaluate and push to market new green chemicals and materials that they can use in their products for the benefit of all.  Collaboration makes particular sense when the target chemical or material is:

  1. Common to products sold by multiple companies;
  2. Is necessary for the product but does not confer particular competitive advantage for the product; and
  3. Where there are clear regulatory or market pressures that call for action. 

The GC3 has developed a number of collaborative innovation models and has implemented several as described below.

Specification for Silicone Chemistry Alternatives for Cosmetics and Personal Care Products

Chemical suppliers and cosmetic and personal care product manufacturers within the GC3 membership expressed an interest in working collaboratively to create a specifications document to inform the development of green chemistry alternatives to silicone chemistry for cosmetic and personal care products. Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4), Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5) and Dodecamethylcyclohexasiloxane (D6) are listed on the EU Regulation on Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) Candidate List for Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC).  This designation and subsequent restriction of the chemicals in wash-off products has resulted in a market need for alternatives to these widely utilized components. A survey of cosmetics and personal care product manufacturers has shown that although these manufacturers generally prioritize cyclic siloxane replacements; alternatives for all silicone chemistries were significant considerations.

GC3 makes no statement on the environmental impact of D4, D5, D6, or silicones in general.  This project is focused on addressing the market need to identify alternatives to silicone chemistries; therefore, consistent with the mission of the GC3, these alternatives should be developed using the principles of green chemistry. 

The specifications document includes:

  • Performance attributes to illustrate current applications and functions of silicone chemistries being sought for replacement.
  • Safety and environmental attributes to provide guidance to support the development of a testing strategy.
  • Suggested test methods and alternative approaches to assess safety and environmental parameters. 

Learn more about the GC3’s silicone specification document with this one-page summary.

Download document: Specification for Green Chemistry Alternatives to Silicone Chemistry for Cosmetics & Personal Care Products

Collaborative Challenge on Preservatives for Personal Care and Household Product

In May 2018, the GC3 completed a collaboratively funded, designed and executed preservatives challenge. There were 20 sponsors (including product companies, retailers and suppliers), 48 submissions, and 7 finalists for an effort that was considered highly successful.  Sponsors are now working toward partnerships with the innovators to evaluate their preservatives for use in their products or for co-development, licensing or investment, to commercialize and scale the preservatives.  The GC3 is continuing its work on preservatives by supporting the joint work between the innovators and sponsors; identifying new innovators and connecting them to our sponsors and other GC3 members; and sharing the formulations and methods used for the safety assessments and performance testing. 


Need Statement & Development Criteria Document

The GC3 convened a group of 12 consumer goods companies to collaboratively develop the Need Statement & Development Criteria for New Preservatives for Personal Care & Household Products, which contains technical, health and environmental criteria to inform the development and evaluation of new preservatives by solution providers. The criteria were created with the goal of broadcasting the need for new, safe preservatives and encouraging and accelerating their development and commercialization.  The document stimulated significant discussion and activity within and between supplier and consumer goods companies and laid the foundation for the challenge (described above).

Collaborative Hazard Assessment of Chemical Alternatives

The GC3 developed and led a collaborative effort to evaluate safer alternatives to a known toxic phthalate plasticizer used in wire & cable applications -- DEHP di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate). The project generated robust assessments of alternatives to support chemical substitution decision-making by GC3 companies and their supply chain partners, through pooling of knowledge, data and funds. The project report Chemical Hazard Assessments of Alternative Plasticizers for Wire & Cable Applications provides a summary of the project results and links to detailed chemical hazard assessments for nine plasticizers.



The GC3 has multiple collaborative innovation projects going on; to learn more, contact gc3info@greenchemsitryandcommerce.org.


Past Webinars from the Green Chemistry Innovation Series

Audio archive available on the Webinar Presentations & Recordings page.

Advancing Green Chemistry Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Industry: The GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable's Research Grant Program

Julie Manley, Guiding Green LLC & Coordinator of the ACS, Green Chemistry Institute's Pharmaceutical Roundtable

The American Chemical Society (ACS) GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable began in 2005 as a non-competitive partnership between the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® and pharmaceutical corporations to promote green chemistry & engineering in the global pharmaceutical industry.   Today, 15 pharmaceutical – related companies are collaborating through the Roundtable to identify critical, pre-competitive green chemistry & engineering research needs and are pooling their resources to fund university research to meet these needs.  In this webinar, Julie Manley, Guiding Green LLC; Roundtable members from Eli Lilly and Pfizer; and researchers from UCLA, U Mass Boston and Michigan State provide an overview of the Roundtable and delve into the grant program, highlighting goals, accomplishments, examples, how they prioritize research, and handle IP.   

InnoCentive: Using Crowdsourcing to Solve Green Chemistry Challenges & Create New Market Opportunities

Alph Bingham, Founder & Board Member, InnoCentive

As companies seek to develop safer chemicals and materials for use in their products and production processes, some are turning to crowdsourced open innovation “challenges” to create new markets and solve problems more quickly and cost effectively.  Challenge driven innovation (CDI) enables organizations to harness diverse and creative on-demand talent when needed and is being readily embraced by commercial enterprises, government agencies, and not-for-profits.  Dr. Alph Bingham, Founder & Board Member of InnoCentive, explains CDI and how it can fit within the broader tapestry of your innovation and R&D efforts, and dives into real examples of how CDI is being applied to solve chemistry and sustainability challenges.

Accelerating Commercialization of Green Chemistry Technologies at GreenCentre Canada

Rui Resendes, Executive Director, GreenCentre Canada

Formed in 2009, GreenCentre Canada has an impressive track record of commercializing early stage green chemistry inventions originating from academia and small to mid-sized companies. This green chemistry-focused organization employs a unique business model designed to pull commercially relevant green chemistry ideas out of the lab and into commercial applications.  Rui Resendes, Executive Director of the Centre, will walk us through their business model and describe the Centre’s successes, challenges and future directions. 

Professor Kaichang Li: Successes and Lessons from a Serial Green Chemistry Innovator

Kaichang Li, Professor, Oregon State University

Kaichang Li, Professor of Wood Science & Engineering at Oregon State University, observed mussels tenaciously gripping rocks on the Oregon coast, which led to the development and commercialization of a bio-based, formaldehyde-free adhesive for replacement of carcinogenic urea-formaldehyde resins in wood-based composite panels. This adhesive has revolutionized the forest products industry and is a green chemistry success story.  Since then, Dr. Li has developed several other commercial products aimed at solving some of the most important and difficult green chemistry challenges.  In this webinar we will hear about Dr. Li’s successes and challenges and learn about the opportunities and possible pitfalls of academic/industry innovation, co-development, and commercialization.