With sustainability emerging as a top priority for businesses and industries, a workshop of 40 experts has identified and published a set of recommendations for businesses to overcome the nontechnical barriers to applying sustainable industrial practices.
In the article, Martin A. Abraham and colleagues point out that important scientific, or technical, advances are occurring in green chemistry and green engineering. These enable industry to embrace more environmentally friendly processes that minimize the use of potentially toxic substances, for instance, and produce less waste. Despite such technical advances, other barriers to implementing sustainable practices remain.
The American Chemical Society and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers convened the workshop to identify approaches for overcoming these nontechnical hurdles to implementing sustainability – often defined as the ability to meet present needs without compromising those of future generations. The group identified five major approaches to overcoming barriers, which include economic, regulatory, educational and cultural factors. One, for instance, involves a shift in mindset in which business executives view sustainability not just as regulatory compliance but as a pathway to innovation.
- Satterfield et al. Overcoming Nontechnical Barriers to the Implementation of Sustainable Solutions in Industry. Environmental Science & Technology, 2009; 090521133600048 DOI: 10.1021/es802980j
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