iSUSTAIN™ Green Chemistry Index

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Welcome to the iSUSTAIN™ Green Chemistry Index v2.0

Foreword by Dr. John Warner, Director, Warner-Babcock Institute of Green Chemistry -

"Sustainability efforts in institutions across the world have become mainstream and ubiquitous. Although much attention and resources are being spent on such activities, there does not exist a universal understanding of how sustainability can be truly measured and tracked to determine the actual success of any "sustainability endeavor". The iSUSTAIN™ Index provides the user with a CREDIBLE and QUANTIFIABLE assessment of the relative sustainability of a material process. This tool is useful to retrospectively analyze an existing process or help design a new process with a focus on sustainability.

The iSUSTAIN™ Index provides the user with a respected way to articulate the environmental performance aspects of a process up and down the customer supply chain. From a technical perspective it can be an invaluable design tool. From a marketing perspective it can help communicate the true value of a process to internal and external clients. From any perspective the iSUSTAIN™ Green Chemistry Index provides an objective assessment to effectively plan efforts across an organization while not inhibiting the existing structure."

The iSUSTAIN™ Green Chemistry Index is a tool which provides a methodology to generate a sustainability-based score for chemical products and processes. It contains a set of sustainability metrics based on the Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry* and takes into account such factors as waste generation, energy usage, health and environmental impact of raw materials and products, safety of processing steps, and others.

To use the iSUSTAIN™ Index, the user generates a scenario. The scenario contains information on the materials going into a process (the Bill of Materials In or BOM In), the materials out of a process (the product and any waste streams - the Bill of Materials Out or BOM Out) and the conditions used for the various steps in a process (the Process Steps). Several alternative scenarios can be generated for the same product/process, making changes within them to evaluate their effect on the overall sustainability score, thus allowing the user to do a "what-if" analysis.

The internet-based version of the iSUSTAIN™ Green Chemistry Index was developed with two goals in mind:

  • Afford a measure of the sustainability for products/processes to both develop an initial sustainability baseline and provide guidance for process improvement
  • Act as a learning tool for the scientific community to provide increased familiarity with the Twelve Principles of Green chemistry and help scientists gain an appreciation of the factors within their control that can affect the overall sustainability of their processes

The iSUSTAIN™ Green Chemistry Index has been developed through an alliance between Cytec Industries Inc., a sustainability-minded specialty chemicals and materials company; Sopheon, a leading provider of software and services for product lifecycle management; and Beyond Benign, a non-profit organization dedicated to green chemistry education and training.

* Anastas and Warner, Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice, 1998, Oxford University Press

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is most commonly defined as:

"Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." (World Commission on Environment & Development, 1987 Bruntland Commission Report)

For many of us, sustainability means living our ethical values in a changing world. It's about innovative and environmentally sustainable products that compete in a global economy. It's about achieving the highest standards of safety, health and environmental stewardship. It's about being responsible to our customers, our employees, the community and our planet.


What is Green Chemistry?

Green Chemistry is defined as the design of chemical products and processes that reduce and/or eliminate the use and/or the generation of hazardous substances.* This approach requires an open and interdisciplinary view of material and product design, applying the principle that it is better to consider waste prevention options during the design and development phase, rather than disposing or treating waste after a process or material has been developed. Through a principle-based approach, green chemistry results in increased efficiency, reduced hazards and the elimination of waste.

Green Chemistry in practice implies designing safer, economical, and efficacious processes and products. All of these aspects are symptoms of good product design and good manufacturing processes and can result in economic benefit for institutions that implement these practices. Green Chemistry offers a concrete path to achieve sustainable and safe laboratory practices. The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry establish a framework for practicing chemists to follow along this path.


Additional Information

The iSUSTAIN™ Index is not a life cycle assessment (LCA) tool. Rather, it is designed to provide evaluation of a product and/or process using readily available information and requiring much less time and effort than a full LCA. As such, the tool currently provides a "gate-to-gate" assessment, looking upstream in a process to impacts of raw materials and then into the laboratory or production facility at the process being used to prepare the product under consideration. It is designed to allow use from a very early stage in the product development cycle (even before laboratory trials have begun), through to the later stages of commercial production. Over time, it is planned to evolve the iSUSTAIN™ Index to utilize more detailed impact information as it becomes more readily available.

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Material Data
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Last updated on 2/20/2014