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Green Chemistry is Big in Minnesota and Poised to Grow

Kathleen Schuler


Healthy Kids and Families Program Director,
Conservation Minnesota

Increasingly companies of all sizes and types are looking at the chemicals used in their products and processes with an eye to reducing their environmental impacts. Many are using green chemistry and life cycle assessment as frameworks for increasing the sustainability of their products and processes and assuring the use of safer chemicals throughout their supply chains. These businesses recognize the value and cost savings from reducing toxic inputs, including reduced liability, regulatory compliance, and meeting consumer demand for safer products.

Fortunately, Minnesota is blessed with a cluster of businesses helping to meet consumer and business demands for safer chemistry. Companies like BioAmber, Segetis, NatureWorks, Reluceo, and others are utilizing biofeedstock to develop replacements for petroleum-derived plasticizers, solvents and plastics.  Biochemicals provide a high value use of agricultural and forestry feedstock that can help boost Minnesota’s economy. In addition to economic benefits, green chemistry affords environmental and health benefits from new, safer green chemistry products.

Two events coming up at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management will address the array of issues facing businesses as they attempt to incorporate green chemistry into their products and production. On January 15 a daylong workshop, Safe Products, Made Safely: Green Chemistry Tools for Business, will feature practical tools that businesses can use to avoid hazards and identify safer alternatives to chemicals of concern. Regulatory compliance is a key goal, as four states, including Maine, Washington, California and Minnesota, have passed comprehensive chemical policies to address chemicals of concern in consumer products. On January 16 a daylong conference, Minnesota Green Chemistry 2014: Connecting Policy, Technology, and Economy, will highlight Minnesota’s growing green chemistry business sector and discuss policies and incentives to retain and grow this sector of our economy.

Below is more information about each event:

  • January 15, 2014, Safe Products, Made Safely: Green Chemistry Tools for Business. This workshop will provide a framework for evaluating the best approach and tools for businesses in meeting goals to eliminate or reduce the use of toxic chemicals in products and processes throughout the supply chain. It will provide background on the state and federal regulatory landscape in the U.S. and other drivers for safer chemistry, as well as specific tools designed to meet business needs for hazard assessment and life cycle assessment. Presentations will include business case studies. Register or learn more »
  • January 16, 2014, Minnesota Green Chemistry 2014: Connecting Policy, Technology, and Economy.  The fourth annual Minnesota Green Chemistry Forum conference, will explore the intersection of policy, technology and economy in the Green Chemistry sector to illuminate the benefits, challenges and opportunities of fostering a business sector that also helps meet environmental, climate, energy and health goals. Speakers include businesses, policymakers, academics and government agency representatives. Register or learn more »


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