Dr. Joel Tickner is Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts Lowell where he also directs the Chemicals Policy and Science Initiative of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production. He also directs the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council, a network of more than 100 companies and other organizations dedicated to accelerating the adoption of green chemistry across supply chains and sectors. He is a leading expert on chemicals regulation, regulatory science, and application of the alternatives assessment in science and policy. He has served as an advisor and researcher for several government agencies, international agencies, non-profit environmental groups, companies, and trade unions both in the U.S. and abroad during the past twenty years. He served on the EPA’s National Pollution Prevention and Toxics Advisory Committee as well as National Academy of Sciences Panels on the Future of Science at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Design of Safer Chemical Alternatives. He also directs the undergraduate environmental health BS in Public Health program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana and a Doctor of Science Degree from the Department of Work Environment at University of Massachusetts Lowell and was an Environmental Protection Agency STAR Fellow. Email: Joel_tickner@uml.edu
- Why did you engage in the ISC3 Advisory Council?
For the past twelve years, I have been directing the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council, a business-to-business of more than 100 companies and other organizations dedicated to advancing green chemistry across the value chain. GC3 membership is primarily US-based but we have several European members and most have production facilities in developing countries. The conference that led to the establishment of the GC3 in 2005 was funded by the German Ministry of Environment and the German Environment Agency. Given that commerce and production are global in nature, it is critical to find global solutions. The ISC3 is seeking to develop an international approach to connecting green chemistry initiatives in industry, academia, and government. I felt it would be important to help shape the ISC3 mission, how it defines sustainable chemistry, and the types of projects it takes on so it has the greatest added value to existing efforts.
- How GC3 will take advantage from sustainable chemistry approaches?
The GC3 defines green chemistry as the design and application of chemicals that are less hazardous through their life cycles. The 12 principles of green chemistry include waste and energy reduction and reduction in use of natural resources. All of these are consistent with sustainable chemistry approaches. The GC3 is the only business to business organization dedicated to accelerating green chemistry to making it mainstream practice.
- What about the economic opportunities of business models based on sustainable chemistry?
To be successful green chemistry solutions have to be high functioning and economically viable. Given the specialized nature of green chemistry solutions, the economic and business opportunities will revolve around new projects that are less toxic, energy intensive and waste producing. For example, the economic benefits of green chemistry in the pharmaceutical sector, in terms of waste and solvent reduction are well documented. Our work with the consultancy TruCost showed significant economic and job benefits from green chemistry investment given the market demand for safer products. However the economic case would be even stronger if we placed a value on the impacts of more dangerous chemistries, for example hazardous waste clean ups.