The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and the Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3) recently released a report that evaluates the potential business and economic value of “safer chemistry.” The report, Making the Business & Economic Case for Safer Chemistry, concludes that market growth, capital flows, and market demand show upward trajectories during the past five years. Large corporations, specifically including Dow, DuPont, and Sigma-Aldrich, have higher sales growth of broadly defined “green chemistry” production portfolios, as compared to sales of conventional chemistry. Smaller companies whose value proposition is based on safer chemistry, including Seventh Generation or Method, have demonstrated continued growth. The research also identified examples of sizeable business risk posed by traditional chemistry that safer chemistry could alleviate. These include expanding regulations, continued non-governmental organization (NGO) and shareholder activism, loss of access to major markets, and chemical mismanagement.
The Report offers several recommendations:
- Businesses that have not yet evaluated their individual business case for safer chemistry within their specific product portfolio and market segment are strongly encouraged to do so, given the potential for revenue growth and business value at risk.
- Safer chemistry metrics that relate to business and economic opportunity (and risk) should be tracked and communicated, to help spur business understanding of safer chemistry and public policy mechanisms for data closure.
- The total societal benefits associated with the addressable market for safer chemistry should be quantified and communicated to policy makers and investors.
- Existing safer chemistry initiatives should be catalyzed, harmonized, and aligned through a value chain approach and used to leverage capital flows toward safer chemistry innovation.
- Stakeholders should work toward a common understanding and communicate with better clarity on the specific aspects of safer chemistry that they are addressing, since the topic can encompass many different production aspects and product attributes.
- Priorities for filling data gaps should include gathering more specific market research to quantify the potential for job growth and revenue opportunity for safer chemistry (as more narrowly defined), more specifically by product segment and industry vertical.