Sustainability Policy Update: Big Changes by the Biden Administration | AIChE

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Sustainability Policy Update: Big Changes by the Biden Administration

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This article summarizes the status of current sustainability policy, in the U.S. and globally, and describes the potential for policy to drive advances in achieving recognized global sustainability goals.

The United Nations (UN) recognizes the 1987 Brundtland Commission report’s definition of sustainability as: “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” With such a qualitative and dated definition, discussion of the Biden administration’s actions in a global context is helpful, particularly given recent developments.

This article reviews the globally recognized definition of sustainability and how sustainability goals are pursued, whether through international agreements, corporate sustainability standards, mandatory reporting requirements, legislation, or executive action. It also addresses how sustainable technologies, including water conservation, renewable energy, and carbon-neutral energy such as biofuels and clean hydrogen, and circular economies especially for waste plastic, are addressed through sustainability goals. The article reviews recent developments in sustainability, including President Biden’s December 2021 Executive Order and Federal Sustainability Plan...

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