ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering has a history of calling for the increased use of quantitative sustainability metrics, and increasingly considers the use of sustainability metrics in its editorial decisions. Now the journal is demonstrating that commitment with a Virtual Special Issue containing contributions from well-known authors in the field and addressing diverse topics in the field. The issue includes a compilation of the vocabulary of sustainability metrics, the evolution of the use of such metrics, in silico tools for predictive toxicology, the role of life cycle analysis in sustainable design, and specific examples of process/product design using such metrics. The articles in this Virtual Special Issue represent applications of sustainability metrics in diverse settings and a variety of industry sectors including commodity chemicals, renewable fuels, pharma, specialty chemicals, and personal care products.
“For our field to realize its potential, we must, as we have noted multiple times in our editorials, make significant progress in how we measure and assess the sustainability of chemical processes and products,” write Editor-in-Chief David Allen and Associate Editor Bala Subramaniam in an editorial introducing the Virtual Special Issue. “Our field is diverse, and so a diverse group of metrics will be required. We also recognize that the use of sustainability metrics will not be possible or necessary in all cases, but we must make progress.”
The journal acknowledges the organizers of the 21st Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference for allowing the journal access to potential authors from metrics-related sessions. This Virtual Special Issue compilation aims to show the readers of ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering not only how existing tools and metrics may be applied to promote sustainable chemistry and engineering but also the complexities and challenges associated with reliable sustainability assessments.