Expanding Oregon’s Advantage
Inspired Innovation: Expanding Oregon’s Advantage in Sustainable Chemistry and Materials
Research indicates that the global market for chemicals and materials designed and
manufactured using sustainable chemistry, also known as green chemistry, will continue to grow.
It’s estimated that the market will expand from about $3 billion in 2011, to almost $100 billion by
2020.A Oregon is poised to become a national leader in the development and commercialization
of the next generation of affordable, high performance chemicals and materials.
Materials are at the heart of the global economy. The availability and performance of chemicals and materials has a direct impact on the competitiveness of key industries in Oregon. To help realize the economic, environmental, and public health benefits of developing the next generation of high performance chemicals and materials, Oregon should prioritize the following actions over the next five years:
- Increase funding for strategic initiatives: Education and jobs are good investments. A modest public investment – $2 million in new funding – in three interdependent areas, including: 1) research, development, and commercialization, 2) entrepreneurship and new business creation, and 3) education and workforce training will help support growth across key industries in Oregon.
- Raise awareness among decision-makers: Information gaps about green chemistry are significant among both policy makers and business leaders. The legislature can begin to close these knowledge gaps by establishing a green chemistry option as part of the annual Governor’s Sustainability Awards and launching a sustainable chemistry and materials conference.
- Forge strategic partnerships: Science-based economic growth requires strong collaboration between the research and business communities. We recommend establishing a dedicated position at Business Oregon (in partnership with Oregon research centers, universities, and other interested parties) responsible for identifying strategic needs and opportunities with Washington and California.
- Reform relevant revenue streams: Oregon’s current materials management fee system is outdated. The legislature can update the fee assessment mechanism and structure for relevant existing materials management fees, including the Hazardous Substances Possession Fee, to generate dedicated funding for the Toxics Use and Hazardous Materials Reduction Program and new green chemistry initiatives.
- Strengthen demand: Consumer demand drives innovation. Department administrators should build on the success of the Oregon’s initial efforts by accelerating adoption of the Department of Administrative Services’ Green Chemistry Procurement Guidelines. Oregon should also take the lead in integrating the guidelines into multistate price agreements in collaboration with other states and national procurement organizations.
- Enact comprehensive chemicals management policies: Businesses desire regulatory certainty. Oregon should enact clearer, stronger policies governing the management of hazardous chemicals to spur invention of safer alternatives and drive innovation, helping entrepreneurs overcome barriers to entry in the marketplace
Read more about the future of green chemical and materials manufacturing in this report from OEC’s Director of Market Innovation, Colin Price.