The American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute® (ACS GCI) has teamed with stakeholders from industry, non-governmental organizations, and Federal and State agencies to develop a Sustainable Chemical and Process Technology Standard for the chemical industry.  As stated in the January 2009 memo from the ACS GCI, the new Standard is intended to…

…establish consistent requirements for sustainable chemical products and production technology…to demonstrate how chemical products can conform to the environmental, economic, and social principles of sustainability throughout the supply chain; and to encourage participation by all chemical manufacturers to maximize impact reductions and enhance environmental accomplishments.

It’s curious how this Standard will integrate with existing environmental regulations at chemical production facilities.  For example, Shell Chemical Yabucoa, a petrochemical facility in Puerto Rico, has received a compliance order from the USEPA.  The facility has a permit to discharge treated wastewaters, yet it violated the permit by discharging to the wrong location, a.k.a., leaking pollutants, twice so far in 2009.  We are hopeful that the Shell Chemical personnel at this facility are making efforts to reduce impacts to the environment, yet they seem to be having a hard time with this persistent leak.

Will the Sustainable Chemical and Process Technology Standard capture how the facility responds to the leak, the turnaround time to repair the leak, the adverse environmental health consequences of the leak, or the compliance penalties assessed by Federal agencies?  Let’s hope that the new Standard will be able to identify and assess chemical production footprint fluctuations all along the supply chain.