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Massachusetts Can Re-Orient Its Economy to Be a Global Leader in Clean Technologies

Massachusetts, known throughout the world as a center of innovation in high tech, life sciences, and information technology, has an opportunity to develop a Clean Tech economy that will lead the worldwide transition to a clean, healthier economy.

The Lowell Center for Sustainable Production formed the Clean Tech Initiative to learn where Massachusetts has the potential to take advantage of the emerging Clean Tech market, and to identify policies and actions to create a vibrant, Clean Tech economy and identity. The project team gathered input from a broad-based Advisory Committee, individual interviews, and through a series of sector-specific focus groups and stakeholder roundtables held around the state.

The project found that Massachusetts has a leading innovation and adoption edge in five Clean Technology areas:

1. Safer Alternatives/Green Chemistry:   the design and use of safer alternatives to toxic chemicals in products and manufacturing processes

2. Green Buildings:   products and services that reduce the health and environmental impacts of constructing, renovating, and operating buildings.

3. Materials Reuse: returning products and materials back into the economic mainstream through reuse, remanufacturing, composting, and recycling

4. Emerging Materials: such as safe and green biobased and nanomaterials which, when designed responsibly, have the ability to yield significant efficiencies in energy and materials use

5. Clean Energy: the use of cleaner or more efficient energy sources and production methods that create less pollution—from fuel extraction to energy generation to reduced demand.

Strengths that give us this leading edge include a well-trained workforce, strong export ties, research leadership, entrepreneurial activity, and ability to attract public and private funding. However, to realize this leadership will take additional action from state leaders.