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Green Chemistry and Clean Tech: 2006 to 2010

The Lowell Center kicked off the project “Clean Tech: An Agenda for a Healthy Economy” to re-focus Massachusetts to build an economy that creates jobs while protecting health and the environment.With its partners, the Lowell Center will be conducted case studies, economic research, and outreach to key experts to make the case for investment in clean technologies in the chemicals, recycling, water infrastructure, and energy sectors. 

In 2007, the Lowell Center sponsored the first “Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3) Innovators Roundtable: The Role of Tools, Labels, and Retail in Promoting Safer Chemistry."

Along with GreenBlue, the Lowell Center began Sustainable Children's Products Initiative, a collaborative effort with decision makers in the toy industry and representatives from citizen advocacy groups, government, and academia. We engaged stakeholders throughout the supply chain, including manufacturers, retailers and designers. In December, we held a planning meeting of these stakeholders, including Mattel, Hasbro, Wal-Mart, several small toy manufacturers, toy designers, US EPA, and representatives of citizen advocacy groups including Consumers Union and Clean Production Action.

The Lowell Center proposed a model for “Sustainable Solutions Science” in 2008 which integrates research and analysis with action aimed at social and technological change. The focus is on how best to act based on what is already known so that knowledge and action advance together.This initiative followed more than five years’ research and network building on the precautionary principle.

With the Asthma Regional Council, the Lowell Center launched a major New England-wide initiative to advance the delivery and financing of comprehensive asthma management, with particular emphasis on home-based environmental interventions. The premise of the initiative is that environmental interventions need to be embedded in traditional delivery systems and financed by those who pay for health care.

The Lowell Center was funded by the Public Welfare Foundation in 2009 to develop a series of case studies of solutions to major occupational health and safety problems. This resulted in the well-received report: Lessons Learned: Workable Solutions to Workplace Health and Safety which has been widely used as a teaching and organizing tool.

The Lowell Center served a catalytic role in establishing the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2), an association of state, local, and tribal governments that promotes a clean environment, healthy communities, and a vital economy through the development and use of safer chemicals and products.

In 2009, the Lowell Center published a Framework for Sustainable Products as a tool to help product designers and manufacturers evaluate the environmental, social and economic impacts of existing products and to design new products that minimize these impacts.

In June 2010, The Lowell Center hosted a successful week-long training program –– the Sustainability Action Summer Institute, or SASI––for 35 participants from the United States and Canada. The theme was “Beyond Green” because traditional notions of “green” usually consider only a limited number of options and leave out issues such as worker health, social impacts, and public accountability.SASI also addressed topics such as systems thinking, generational goal-setting, sustainable product design, and alternatives assessment — concepts and tools that move us beyond green toward a larger conception of sustainability.

The Lowell Center worked with several regional and New England local governments on a program to promote municipal energy conservation and renewable energy projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.