, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 113-136

Chemistry, Green Chemistry, and the Instrumental Valuation of Sustainability

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Abstract

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.