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"Chemistry, Green Chemistry, and the Instrumental Valuation of Sustainability"

"Green chemistry" is finding ways to reduce or eliminate toxic chemicals with safer or even harmless replacements. The goal is health, safety, and environmental sustainability.

"Chemistry, Green Chemistry, and the Instrumental Valuation of Sustainability"

Special Issue: Public Value Mapping: Assessing the Non-Economic Value of R&D

Journal Article, Minerva, volume 49, issue 1, pages 113-136

March 2011

Author: Nathaniel Logar, Former Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program (STPP)/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group (ETIP), 2012–2014; Former Research Fellow, STPP/ETIP, 2009–2012

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Energy Technology Innovation Policy; Environment and Natural Resources; Science, Technology, and Public Policy



Using the Public Value Mapping framework, I address the values successes and failures of chemistry as compared to the emerging field of green chemistry, in which the promoters attempt to incorporate new and expanded values, such as health, safety, and environmental sustainability, to the processes of prioritizing and conducting chemistry research. I document how such values are becoming increasingly "public." Moreover, analysis of the relations among the multiple values associated with green chemistry displays a greater internal coherence and logic than for conventional chemistry. Although traditional chemistry research has successfully contributed to both economic and values gains, there have been public values failures due to imperfect values articulations, failure to take a longer-term view, and inertia within a system that places too much emphasis on "science values." Green chemistry, if implemented effectively, has potential to remedy these failures.


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For more information about this publication please contact the STPP Web Manager at 617-496-1981.

For Academic Citation:

Logar, Nathaniel. "Chemistry, Green Chemistry, and the Instrumental Valuation of Sustainability." Minerva 49, no. 1 (March 2011): 113-136.

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