Sustainable Innovation through Green Chemistry Case Competition Promotes Cross-Faculty Collaboration

News

On January 16-17, 2015, the Marcel Desautels Institute for Integrated Management (MDIIM), CREATE in Green Chemistry, and the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED), jointly hosted a workshop and case competition on Sustainable Innovation through Green Chemistry.

Now in its third installment, the event featured public lectures by McGill’s own Canada Excellence Research Chair in Green Chemistry and Green Chemicals, Dr. Robin Rogers, as well as Dr. Eric Beckman, Co-Director of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation at the University of Pittsburgh. 

Following the public lecture, graduate-level participants from the faculties of Chemistry, Engineering, and Management attended closed-interdisciplinary seminars led by experts from McGill University, Queen’s University and the American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry Institute. Student participants were then able to apply their learning through a real-time case competition with interdisciplinary teams and present in front of panel of subject matter experts.

This year’s case addressed the complex challenges and opportunities associated with polyvinyl chloride (PVC). A key takeaway amongst student participants was the importance of building a strong business case when introducing more sustainable products or creating substitutions to phase out riskier alternatives. The event also highlighted the continued interest and need for cross-departmental collaboration and opportunities for students from different faculties to practice working together. Overall, participants were able to gain a better appreciation for bringing multiple perspectives together when addressing sustainability challenges.