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JULY 2014


Paul Anastas and John C. Warner developed the 12 principles of green chemistry.
These principles help to explain what the definition means in practice. The
principles cover such concepts as:
the design of processes to maximize the amount of raw material that ends up in
the product;
the use of safe, environment-benign substances, including solvents, whenever
the design of energy efficient processes;
The best form of waste disposal: not to create it in the first place [2].
The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry
1. Prevention
It is better to prevent waste than to treat or clean up waste after it has been created
[1]. This is a fundamental principle. The preventative action can change
dramatically many attitudes among scientists developed in the last decades. Most
of the chemical processes and synthetic routes produce waste and toxic secondary
substances. Green Chemistry can prevent waste and toxic by-products by designing
the feedstock and the chemical processes in advance and with innovative changes
2. Atom Economy
Synthetic methods should be designed to maximize the incorporation of all
materials used in the process into the final product [1]. All synthetic methods until
now were wasteful and their yields between 70-90% [3]. Green Chemistry supports
that synthetic methods can be designed in advance to maximize the incorporation
of all reagents used in the chemical process into the final product, eliminating the
need to recycling the by-products The concept of Atom Economy was developed
by Barry Trost of Stanford University, United State America, for which he received
the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 1998. It is a method of

expressing how efficiently a particular reaction makes use of the reactant atoms
3. Less Hazardous Chemical Synthesis
Wherever practicable, synthetic methods should be designed to use and generate
substances that possess little or no toxicity to human health and the environment
[1]. Green Chemistry must strive, wherever practical, to design safer synthetic
methods by using less toxic substances as well as the products of the synthesis.
Less toxic materials mean lower hazards to workers in industry and research
laboratories and less pollution to the environment [3].
4. Designing Safer Chemicals
Chemical products should be designed to effect their desired function while
minimizing their toxicity [1]. At present, there are around 100,000 chemical
substances and materials in the market [3]. Most of these substances have been
characterized as to their physiochemical properties and toxicities, but there is lack
of eco-toxicological data for most of them. From the 1980s there are more
stringent regulations and new chemicals are monitored more effectively [3].
5. Safer Solvents and Auxiliaries
The use of auxiliary substances [e.g., solvents, separation agents, etc.] should be
made unnecessary wherever possible and innocuous when used. [1] Green
Chemistry initiated big changes in chemical laboratories and in the last decade
there are less toxic solvents in chemical laboratories and alternative techniques. [3]
6. Design for Energy Efficiency
Energy requirements of chemical processes should be recognized for their
environmental and economic impacts and should be minimized. If possible,
synthetic methods should be conducted at ambient temperature and pressure [1].

7. Use of Renewable Feedstock


A raw material or feedstock should be renewable rather than depleting whenever

technically and economically practicable [1]. We know that there are many
practical problems in finding renewable raw materials. Green chemists must
change the manufacturing process by discovering renewable chemicals.
Development with depleting natural resources is a negative aspect of economic
growth [3].
8. Reduce Derivatives
Unnecessary derivation [use of blocking groups, and temporary modification of
physical/chemical processes] should be minimized or avoided if possible, because
such steps require additional reagents and can generate waste [1].
9. Catalysis
Catalytic reagents [as selective as possible] are superior to stoichiometric reagents
[1]. New catalysts and more emphasis on catalytic processes is the future of green
chemistry techniques. [3]
10. Design for Degradation
Chemical products should be designed so that at the end of their function(s) they
break down into innocuous degradation products and do not persist in the
environment [1]. Persistence into the environment is a negative aspect of many
consumer products [e.g. plastic products] and this can be reversed by designing
products which degrade in a short time [3].
11. Real-time analysis for Pollution Prevention
Analytical methodologies need to be further developed to allow for real-time, inprocess monitoring and control prior to the formation of hazardous substances [1].
12. Inherently Safer Chemistry for Accident Prevention
Substances and the form of a substance used in a chemical process should be
chosen to minimize the potential for chemical accidents, including releases,
explosions, and fires [1].


Anastas, P. T and Warner, J. C. (1998) Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice,

Oxford University Press: New York, p.30. By permission of Oxford
University Press)

2. The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry". United States Environmental

Protection Agency.


The term sustainable development began to gain wide acceptance in the late
1980s, after its appearance in Our Common Future, also known as The
Brundtland Report. The result of a UN-convened commission created to propose
a global agenda for change in the concept and practices of development, this
signaled the urgency of re-thinking our ways of living and governing [1].
Literature offers over 100 definitions on sustainable development, mostly oriented
towards separate sectors e.g. environmental, economic, civilization or
emphasizing managerial, technical or philosophical/political decisions, and thus
expressing rather different concepts of sustainable development. [Munasinghe,
1993; Pearce et al, 1989; Pezzey, 1989; Pezzoli, 1997].
The Brundtland Report described sustainable development as the "Development
that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their own needs [1].
In a world with a continuously increasing population and limited resources, the
idea of a sustainable development is of major importance now, as it is for the
future. Only research and innovation will allow the development of economic and
social networks and processes that fulfill the requirements of sustainability. The
future has to be planned with vision, creativity, and fantasy, including brand new
approaches and the exploration of the unknown. Sustainability, in science and
technology, begins when we start thinking of how to solve a problem or how to
turn science into technology. [3]
In this paper, the concept of sustainable development is considered and also the
efforts (impact of Green Chemistry) to address sustainability.


Heinen in 1994 indicated that there is no single unanimous approach to
sustainable development due to a variety of scopes, characteristic of different

protection programs and different types of communities and institutions.

Sustainable development has different implications and meaning to Scientists,
politicians, citizens from every walk of life, government of countries, and
organizations. L
Sustainable Development in Asia states that Sustainable development is an act of
balancing economic, social, and environmental benefits through implementation of
development policies, programs, and projects that will not enhance one type of
benefit at the cost of others. [2]
Adopting the Brundland Report definition, described Sustainable Development as
the "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the
ability of future generations to meet their own needs [1]. Based on this context,
sustainability is a path forward that allows humanity to meet current
environmental and human health, economic, and societal needs without
compromising the progress and success of future generations. [10]
Sustainable practices refer to products, processes, and systems that support this
path. For example, such processes might involve developing new energy resources
to meet societal needs; but to be sustainable, they must also be economically
competitive and not cause harm to the environment or human health. Addressing
sustainability necessarily cuts across all disciplinary boundaries and requires a
broad system view to integrate the different and competing factors involved. This
includes strategic connections between scientific research, technological
development, and societies efforts to achieve environmentally sustainable
improvements in human well-beings (National Research Council, 1999) and
involves the creative design of products, processes, systems, and organizations,
and the implementation of smart management strategies that effectively harness
technology and ideas to avoid environmental problems before they arise (National
Academy of Engineering, 1997).
Many governments and individuals have pondered what sustainable development
means beyond a simple one-sentence definition. The Rio Declaration on

Environment and Development fleshes out the definition by listing 18 principles of

sustainability. [4]

People are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.

Development today must not undermine the development and environment

needs of present and future generations.

Nations have the sovereign right to exploit their own resources, but without
causing environmental damage beyond their borders.

Nations shall develop international laws to provide compensation for damage

that activities under their control cause to areas beyond their borders.

Nations shall use the precautionary approach to protect the environment.

Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, scientific
uncertainty shall not be used to postpone cost-effective measures to prevent
environmental degradation.

In order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection shall

constitute an integral part of the development process, and cannot be
considered in isolation from it. Eradicating poverty and reducing disparities in
living standards in different parts of the world are essential to achieve
sustainable development and meet the needs of the majority of people.

Nations shall cooperate to conserve, protect and restore the health and
integrity of the Earth's ecosystem. The developed countries acknowledge the
responsibility that they bear in the international pursuit of sustainable
development in view of the pressures their societies place on the global
environment and of the technologies and financial resources they command.

Nations should reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production and

consumption, and promote appropriate demographic policies.

Environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned
citizens. Nations shall facilitate and encourage public awareness and
participation by making environmental information widely available.

Nations shall enact effective environmental laws, and develop national law
regarding liability for the victims of pollution and other environmental
damage. Where they have authority, nations shall assess the environmental
impact of proposed activities that are likely to have a significant adverse

Nations should cooperate to promote an open international economic system

that will lead to economic growth and sustainable development in all

countries. Environmental policies should not be used as an unjustifiable

means of restricting international trade.
The polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution.
Nations shall warn one another of natural disasters or activities that may have
harmful trans-boundary impacts.
Sustainable development requires better scientific understanding of the
problems. Nations should share knowledge and innovative technologies to
achieve the goal of sustainability.
The full participation of women is essential to achieve sustainable
development. The creativity, ideals and courage of youth and the knowledge
of indigenous people are needed too. Nations should recognize and support
the identity, culture and interests of indigenous people.
Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development, and Nations
shall respect international laws protecting the environment in times of armed
conflict, and shall cooperate in their further establishment.
Peace, development and environmental protection are interdependent and


As a general concept, sustainable development encompasses three fundamental
approaches: economic, environmental, and social development, In other words,
sustainable development is a certain compromise among environmental, economic,
and social goals of community, allowing for wellbeing for the present and future
generations. [5]
At the core of sustainable development is the need to consider three pillars
together: society, the economy and the environment. No matter the context, the
basic idea remains the same people, habitats and economic systems are interrelated. The fact of the matter is that the society depends on ecosystems and the
services they provide in order to run businesses, build communities, feed its
populations and much more. Consider the more obvious examples the need for soil
that can grow food or for clean water to drink or the less obvious but equally
significant things like oxygen production during photosynthesis or waste

processing by bacteria decomposers, we cannot avoid the conclusion that we

depend on the environment for our existence. If there is damage or destruction to
the capacity of the environment to provide these services the economy and society
face consequences for which they are completely unprepared. [7]
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de
Janeiro in 1992, provided the fundamental principles, the Rio Declaration and
the program of action, the Agenda 21 for achieving sustainable development.
Agenda 21 addresses the pressing problems of today and also aim at preparing the
world for the challenges of the next century. The conservation and management
of resources for development are the main foci of interest. [6]


Sustainable [Green] chemistry is understood as the contribution of chemistry to the
implementation of the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21. [6] The sciences have to
make a considerable contribution if the aim is to be achieved. There is a need for
the sciences constantly to reassess and promote less intensive trends in resource
utilization. Thus, the sciences are increasingly being understood as an essential
component in the search for feasible pathways towards sustainable development
and chemists must lead in developing the technological dimension of a
sustainable civilization. [8]
Green Chemistry can be defined as, The design, development, and
implementation of chemical processes and manufactured products to reduce or
eliminate substances hazardous to human health and the environment. [9]
Looking at the definition of green chemistry, the first thing one sees is the concept
of invention and design. By requiring that the impacts of chemical products and
chemical processes are included as design criteria, the definition of green
chemistry inextricably links hazard considerations to performance criteria.
Therefore, green chemistry is a tool not only for minimizing the negative impact of
those procedures aimed at optimizing efficiency, although both impact
minimization and process optimization are legitimate and complementary

objectives of the subject. Green chemistry, however, also recognizes that there are
significant consequences to the use of hazardous substances, ranging from
regulatory, handling and transport to liability issues. To limit the definition to deal
with waste only would be to address only part of the problem. Finally, the
definition of green chemistry includes the term hazardous. It is important to note
that green chemistry is a way of dealing with risk reduction and pollution
prevention by addressing the intrinsic hazards of the substances rather than those
circumstances and conditions of their use that might increase their risk. Therefore,
green chemistry offers a viable path for achieving sustainability goals across the
chemical industry. That is, there is the potential to develop industrial technologies
that could provide goods, products, and services in a way that does not reduce the
supply chain of resources, harm the environment and human health, or limit the
opportunities and choices for future generations. [3]
If Green [Sustainable] Chemistry is an essential component in the feasibility of
Sustainable Development, it then begs the question what then is Sustainable
Chemistry and how does it promote Sustainable Development?
As mentioned earlier, Sustainable development encompasses three fundamental
approaches: economic, environmental, and social development. It is therefore
necessary to see how Green Chemistry inter-relates with these components.
The impact of green chemistry on sustainable economic development has to do
largely with, reducing or total prevention of waste where possible, efficient use of
raw materials [atom economy], efficient energy utilization and use of renewable
feedstock. These measures summaries four out of the twelve principles of green
chemistry and they have a direct bearing on developing the economic fortunes of
any institution where it is put to use. Costs are saved by reducing waste [which is
becoming increasingly expensive to dispose of, especially when hazardous] and
energy use [likely to represent a larger proportion of process costs in the future] as
well as making processes more efficient by reducing materials consumption [atom
economy]. Furthermore, an increasing use of renewable resources [feedstock] will
render the manufacturing industry more sustainable. These reductions lead to
economic benefit in terms of both feedstock consumption and energy requirement.

With regards to the impact of Green Chemistry to the Sustainable Social

Development, five out of the twelve principles of green chemistry are geared
towards this goal. The safety of the people cannot be over-emphasized. The
reduction in hazardous incidents and the handling of dangerous substances
provides additional social benefit not only to plant operators but also to local
communities and through to the users of chemical-related products. It is
particularly important to seek to apply Green Chemistry throughout the lifecycle of
a chemical product [13].
The Earths environment is changing due to human activities, and is undermining
sustainable development. There is little doubt that the Earth's environment is
changing on all scales from local [e.g. air, soil, and water pollution], to regional
[e.g. acid deposition and land degradation] to global [e.g. climate change and loss
of biodiversity].These changes are to a large measure due to human activities, and
undermine efforts to alleviate poverty and adversely affect water resources, human
health, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and ecosystems. Worse, future projected
changes in the environment are likely to have even more severe consequences for
sustainable development. [12] Green chemistry is contributing immensely to
environmental sustainability. Green chemistry has brought a whole new evolution
in chemistry with influence on the way chemists perceives and relates with
chemical processes. It has educated and brought a high level of environmental
consciousness, helping in decision making in chemical synthesis and routes. Green
Chemistry can make important contributions to the conservation of resources and
environmental sustainability by development of:
More effective and environmentally more benign chemical processes;
Chemical products that are based on renewable resources;
Chemical products that are environmentally more benign, and enhance the
efficiency of production processes and products in other areas significantly;
Products that allow the consumer to use resources more efficiently;
A product design that fits into a recycling concept. [11]


Chemists from all over the world are using their creative and innovative skills to
develop new processes, synthetic methods, analytical tools, reaction conditions,
catalysts, etc. under the new green chemistry cover. Some of these are:

A continuous process and apparatus converts waste biomass into industrial

chemicals, fuels, and animal feed. Another process converts waste biomasses,
such as municipal solid waste, sewage sludge, plastic, tires, and agricultural
residues, to useful products, including hydrogen, ethanol, and acetic acid.
2. A method for mass producing taxol by semi continuous culture of the Taxus
genus plant.
3. A fermentation method for the production of carboxylic acids.
4. A method of partially oxidizing alcohol, such as methanol to ethers,
aldehydes, esters or acids, by using a supercritical fluid mobile.
5. A process for producing a fluoropolymer by using supercritical carbondioxide.
6. A cost-effective method of producing ethyl lactate, a non-toxic solvent
derived from corn.
7. A range of organic solvents, for example, bioethanol, that are worker
friendly and environmentally sound.
8. A new environmentally friendly technology in mixed metals recovery from
spent acid wastes has been used to recover zinc and ferrous chloride from
pickle liquor.
9. The demand for non-ionic surfactants is growing. A new example of this is
alkly glycoside, which is made from saccharide. This product can be used as a
replacement for alkylaryl sulphonate anionic surfactants in shampoos. Sodium
silicate can be used as a more environmentally benign replacement for
phosphorus containing additives in washing powder. Three coconut oil soap
bases for liquid cleansing applications have been developed. One of these
products has a very light color and low odor, making it suitable for
introducing dyes and fragrances.
10. Feedstock recycling of plastic wastes into valuable chemicals useful as fuels
or raw materials.
11. The first bio-pesticide for sugarcane, called BioCane, has recently been
launched in Australia. The product is based on a naturally-occurring fungus
that has been cultured on broken rice grains to provide a medium for

distribution. Biocane granules are claimed to be particularly effective against

grey back cane grub [3].
In the final analysis, sustainable development is about long-term conditions
for humanitys multi-dimensional well-being. For example, the famous Rio
Declaration, adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development in 1992 (also called the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil), puts it this way: Human beings are at the center of concern for sustainable
development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with
nature. Research and education efforts in academic institutions and industrial
laboratories throughout the world most recognize the importance of designing
more benign chemical processes and of utilizing sustainable development practices
in order to bring about necessary changes. As a means fostering sustainable
development, encouragement most be given to publication of articles in leading
journals describing the development of greener processes and developing
universities with ongoing programs in sustainable development.


World Commission on Environment and Development (1987). Our Common

Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development
(WCED), Switzerland.


Asian Development Bank (2006). Asian development outlook]: Thailand, Accessed November, 2007.



Okonkwo E. M., Okunola O. J. and Ezeanyanaso C. S. (2010). Journal of

Sustainable Development in Africa, Volume 12, No.7, Clarion University of
Pennsylvania, Clarion, Pennsylvania


McKeown and Rosalyn (2002). Education for Sustainable Development

Toolkit, Version 2, Center for Geography and Environmental Education,
University of Tennessee.


Remigijus Ciegis, Jolita Ramanauskiene and Bronislovas Martinkus (2009).

The Concept of Sustainable Development and its Use for Sustainability
Scenarios ISSN 1392-2785 Inzinerine Ekonomika-Engineering Economics.


Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development,

Rio de Janeiro, 314 June 1992;


Tracey Strange and Anne Bayley (OECD 2008). Sustainable Development:

Linking Economy, Society, Environment.


T. Collins (2001). Science 291 p48.


Anastas, P. T. and Warner, J. C. (1998). Green Chemistry: Theory and

Practice. New York: Oxford University Press.

10. Graedel, T. E. and Allenby, B. R. (1995). Industrial Ecology. New Jersey:

Prentice Hall.
11. Metzger J.O. and Chimie C. R. (2004). Concepts on the contribution of
chemistry to a sustainable development; Renewable raw materials. Acadmie
des sciences. Published by Elsevier SAS.


12. International Council for Science (2003). ICSU Report of the CSPR
Assessment Panel on Environment and its Relation to Sustainable
13. ENDS (January 2004). Retailers voice support for REACH chemicals reform.