Green Chemistry: From Blue Jeans to 3-D Printing

On Earth 1

By Edmund L. Andrews

This post originally appeared on the Institute for Business & Social Impact Blog.

When people talk about “green” business, they often think about renewable energy and products that have a smaller carbon footprint.

But there is also a burgeoning business interest in “green chemistry,” safer and more environmentally sustainable alternatives to chemicals that are used in everything from clothing and toys to food and electronics.

Martin Mulvihill, executive director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Green Chemistry, is at the forefront of that effort – often in partnership with the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at the Berkeley-Haas Center for Responsible Business.

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Dara O’Rourke: How to Make Sustainability Less Like Spinach

 

Dara O'Rourke at a Sustainable Products and Solutions Forum at UC Berkeley in May 2015.

Dara O’Rourke at a Sustainable Products and Solutions Forum at UC Berkeley in May 2015.

By Edmund L. Andrews

This post originally appeared on the Institute for Business & Social Impact Blog.

When it comes to products that are “good” – healthier, safer for the environment, or produced by companies that treat workers fairly – what consumers say they want is often very different from what they buy.

In surveys, as many as 75% of respondents say they want sustainable products, and most of those people say they are willing to pay slightly more money for them.   Yet such products only make up between 1% and 3% of the market.

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CRB as a Connector: Building on Our Strengths as Part of UC-Berkeley

campanile-trees-david-schmitz_croppedBy Robert Strand, CRB Executive Director

I did not want to write this blog post. But my good CRB colleague Kate Alper has continued to pester me to do it. And today is the deadline. So here goes….

The reason I have avoided writing this piece is not for lack of things to talk about at the Center for Responsible Business (CRB). It’s the exact opposite. There is simply too much going on – too many really exciting endeavors – that by attempting to write anything I am doomed to leave out important initiatives.

So I must focus attention here. And I am going to focus attention about a particular feature that I have come to learn about the CRB. A key learning I have had during my first year as CRB Executive Director is that the CRB is a connector. This is a core competency of the CRB. The CRB is unique in that we are externally facing to companies and the business community as a whole and we are internally facing to Haas and UC-Berkeley at large. We serve as a single point of contact that makes important connections that otherwise would not have been made.

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The Circular Economy

Schmidt-MacArthur Fellowship Programme 2015 at the Circular Economy 100 Annual Summit in London.

By Rachel Dzombak, PhD Candidate, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Laboratory for Manufacturing and Sustainability, UC Berkeley

In our current economic system, most products end up landfilled after a single use, and only a small percentage are reused or recycled. A circular economy is an economic model where all products are remade, repaired, resold, or recycled. The closer we get to implementing a truly circular economy the better off our economic system will be for people, businesses, and the planet as a whole.

What is the circular economy?

The circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. [1] Instead of disposing products at the end of their life, businesses within a circular economy would seek to capture materials and derive further value from them through new applications. Key principles of the circular economy include utilizing sources of renewable energy, discontinuing use of toxic materials, and eliminating waste from product lifecycles through innovative systems, designs, and business models. Continue reading