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The Impact Series: Game Changers in Sustainability

Green Chemistry: The Missing Element

Posted by Ron Jones

Oct 16, 2014 3:20:00 PM

 Imagine a world where all segments of society demanded environmentally benign products! Imagine if all consumers, all retailers and all manufacturers insisted on buying and selling only non-toxic materials! The unfortunate reality is that, even if this situation were to occur, our knowledge of materials science and chemistry would allow us to provide only a small fraction of the products and materials that our economy is based upon. The way we learn and teach chemistry and materials science is for the most part void of any information regarding mechanisms of toxicity and environmental harm.

Green Chemistry is a philosophy that seeks to reduce or eliminate the use of hazardous materials at the design stage of a materials process. It has been demonstrated that materials and products CAN be designed with negligible impact on human health and the environment while still being economically competitive and successful in the marketplace.

This presentation will describe the history and background of Green Chemistry and discuss the opportunities for the next generation of materials designers to create a safer and more sustainable future.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014
11:00 PT/2:00 ET

John C. Warner
President and Chief Technology Officer
Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry



John is the recipient of the 2014 Perkin Medal, widely acknowledged as the highest honor in American Industrial Chemistry. He received his BS in Chemistry from UMASS Boston, and his PhD in Chemistry from Princeton University. After working at the Polaroid Corporation for nearly a decade, he then served as tenured full professor at UMASS Boston and Lowell (Chemistry and Plastics Engineering). In 2007 he founded the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, LLC (A research organization developing green chemistry technologies) where he serves as President and Chief Technology Officer, and Beyond Benign (a non-profit dedicated to sustainability and green chemistry education). He is one of the founders of the field of Green Chemistry, co-authoring the defining text Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice with Paul Anastas.

He has published over 200 patents, papers and books. His recent work in the fields of pharmaceuticals, personal care products, solar energy and construction and paving materials are examples of how green chemistry principles can be immediately incorporated into commercially relevant applications.

Warner received The 2004 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mentoring, the American Institute of Chemistry's Northeast Division's Distinguished Chemist of the Year for 2002 and the Council of Science Society President’s 2008 Leadership award. Warner was named by ICIS as one of the most influential people impacting the global chemical industries. In 2011 he was elected a Fellow of the American Chemical Society and named one of “25 Visionaries Changing the World” by Utne Reader.

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Topics: Impact Series, Sustainable Building Materials, environment, chemical regulation

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