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​Principles of Sustainable Product Design

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How do the principles of green chemistry and engineering inform sustainable product design? Application of these principles ensures that products use materials that are safe, that can flow in a circular economy, and that have a beneficial impact on natural resources. Gifford Pinchot III, Founder and President Emeritus of Pinchot University, introduces the topic, followed by three leading experts who each explain one of the three main branches of the Design Principles for Sustainable and Green Chemistry and Engineering, linking these to successful business examples: 

  1. Maximize resource efficiency: David Constable, Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute
  2. Eliminate and minimize hazards and pollution: Lauren Heine, Executive Director, Northwest Green Chemistry
  3. Design holistically and use life cycle thinking: Kathy Hart, Senior Project Manager, US EPA Design for the Environment


David J.C. Constable is the Director of the American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry Institute® (ACS GCI).  In this role he works to catalyze and enable the implementation of green chemistry and engineering throughout the global chemical enterprise.

From the end of September, 2011 until January, 2013 David worked as the owner and principal at Sustainability Foresights, LLC.  The consultancy was directed toward assisting companies with Sustainability, Sustainable and Green Chemistry, Energy, Environment, Health and Safety programs.

David left Lockheed Martin as the Corporate Vice President of Energy, Environment, Safety & Health (ESH) at the end of September 2011.   In that role, he led the ESH organization, set corporate EESH policies, evaluated the Corporation’s ESH performance and provided leadership to improve corporate-wide performance in EESH.  He also ensured the development of Lockheed Martin positions on emerging regulatory and legislative ESH issues, and guided the Corporation’s interface with public stakeholders on ESH issues.

Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, David was the Director of Operational Sustainability in the Corporate Environment, Health, and Safety Department at GlaxoSmithKline.  In that global role, he championed Environment, Health and Safety support for New Product Development and Supply.  He also led GlaxoSmithKline’s development of programs, systems, tools, and methodologies that integrated sustainability, life cycle inventory assessment, green chemistry, and green technology activities into existing business processes.

During David’s tenure with GlaxoSmithKline, he held positions of increasing responsibility and global reach within Corporate Environment, Health and Safety.  He first joined SmithKline Beecham, a predecessor to GlaxoSmithKline, in 1991, and worked in the company’s Environmental Research Laboratory, helping to develop environmental fate, effects, and treatability data for drug substances in SmithKline Beecham’s portfolio.


Dr. Lauren Heine applies the principles and practices of green chemistry, green engineering and multi-stakeholder collaboration leading to systemic changes and innovation to enhance human and environmental health.  She is currently our Executive Director here at NGC.  Continue reading about Dr. Heine's accomplishments on our staff page.


Kathy Hart is with the Design for the Environment (DfE)/Safer Choice Program in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, and has over 35 years of experience in the field of environmental protection.  Within the DfE Program she co-led the DfE Alternatives Assessment Update for Flame Retardants in Flexible Polyurethane Foam, and before that led four life-cycle assessment and two Cleaner Technologies Substitutes Assessment studies and partnerships for DfE—with the electronics, wire & cable, and Li-ion battery industries. 
Prior to joining the DfE/Safer Choice Program, Ms. Hart was a Senior Project Manager at Jellinek, Schwartz & Connolly, Inc., an environmental policy consulting firm.  She also served as an Environmental Scientist with EPA’s Office of Toxic Substances and the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.  Ms. Hart earned a B.S. degree in Microbiology at the University of Michigan and holds a Masters degree in Zoology/Aquatic Ecology from Virginia Tech.


Gifford has been an organic dairy farmer, a blacksmith, an author, an innovation consultant, software CEO, an angel investor and is a keynote speaker on Intrapreneuring and other topics. In 2002 he co-founded Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI) which was the first school to offer an MBA in Sustainable Business. In June of 2014 Mr. Pinchot stepped down from the presidency of BGI and is now Founder and President Emeritus of Pinchot University, the container in which BGI now resides.

He has published three books. Intrapreneuring, which introduced a new way of fostering innovation by creating space for innovators to express their entrepreneurial spirit within existing organizations, was a bestseller in 15 languages. The Intelligent Organization, written with his wife, Libba, took self-organization a step further, to include the everyday work of ordinary employees and a follow-up book, Intrapreneuring in Action. Pinchot & Company, which he has been running since 1983 with his wife Libba, has served half of the Fortune 100 and helped them to launch over 700 new products and businesses. He has been awarded numerous awards in his lifetime, among them, Executive Excellence naming him number 32 on the top 100 leadership thinkers. He has a Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa from U. of Puget Sound. In 2009 he was awarded the Olympus Lifetime Education Award and in 2010 he and his wife were named Purpose Prize fellows. Gifford graduated with honors from Harvard University in 1965 with an honors degree in Economics, then completed his coursework for a Ph.D. in Neurophysiology at Johns Hopkins University.