Sens. Coons, Collins, Markey praise release of GAO technical assessment report in support of sustainable chemistry

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) today praised the release of the GAO report entitled, “Technology Assessment: Chemical Innovation: Technologies to Make Processes and Products More Sustainable.”  GAO conducted this study in response to a request from Senators Coons, Collins, and Markey in May 2015.


In this report, GAO worked with stakeholders across the chemistry field, including from government, industry, and academia. They explored opportunities and challenges in sustainable chemistry and identified potential options to address challenges and realize the full potential of technologies. Their conclusions include the following:

  • Breakthrough technologies in sustainable chemistry could transform how the industry thinks about performance, function, and synthesis. Sustainable chemistry creates opportunities to use a different conceptual framework that allows industry to create molecules with better performance. 
  • The establishment of an organized constituency, with the involvement of both industry and government, could help make sustainable chemistry a priority. An industry consortium, working in partnership with a key supporter at the federal level, could lead to an effective national initiative or strategy.
  • A national initiative that considers sustainable chemistry in a systematic manner could be useful. Such an effort could encourage collaborations among industry, academia and the government, similar to other national technology Initiatives.
  • There are opportunities for the federal government to address industry-wide challenges. Federal attention that facilitates development of standard tools for assessment and a robust definition could help clarify relevant participants in the field and improve information available for decision-makers at all levels. 
  • Transitioning toward the use of more sustainable chemistry technologies will require national leadership and industry, government, and other stakeholders to work together. 


The full report can be accessed here.


“I am thankful to GAO for their hard work on this technical assessment of the sustainable chemistry field,” said Senator Coons. “The information laid out in this report will be useful to the chemical industry, to universities and other research institutions, and to policy makers. It also underscores the importance of better federal coordination and support for sustainable chemistry, which is something I have legislatively supported in past congresses. I am proud to continue to champion sustainable chemistry as part of federal science policy.”


“Sustainable chemistry is an important scientific field that aims to improve the efficiency of the chemical production process while reducing risks to human health and the environment,” said Senator Collins.  “This report identifies a number of opportunities for the federal government to support sustainable chemical technologies and encourage the development of innovative, environmentally friendly, and economically competitive chemicals, products, and processes.”


“In the 21st century, the saying should be: Better living through sustainable chemistry,” said Senator Markey. “The GAO’s technical assessment of sustainable chemistry has offered clear insight into ways this field can be used to improve energy efficiency, decrease use of hazardous chemicals, and protect human health and the environment. The report also highlights the important role the federal government can play in better coordinating and supporting the use of sustainable chemistry throughout the entire life cycle of a product.”


“In providing input for this report, the Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3) emphasized the enormous innovation and market potential of sustainable chemistry technologies,” said Dr. Joel Tickner, GC3 Director. “Our GC3 members represent the entire value chain from chemical producers to consumer products companies to major retailers – all could benefit from a coordinated, augmented Federal commitment to support sustainable chemistry research, products, and processes.”