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The chemicals industry is notoroiously bad for the environment. MilliporeSigma’s Jeffrey Whitford is trying to fix that, one ingredient at a time.

For pushing chemical manufacturer MilliporeSigma to find eco-friendly solutions, Jeffrey Whitford is one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People of 2020.

The chemicals industry is notoroiously bad for the environment. MilliporeSigma’s Jeffrey Whitford is trying to fix that, one ingredient at a time.

“Sustainability in science is one of the final frontiers,” says Jeffrey Whitford, head of corporate responsibility at the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany-owned MilliporeSigma, which provides chemicals to industries including pharma, cosmetics, and food. In 2019, Whitford’s team launched Cyrene, a safer, greener alternative to two solvents typically used in plastics, fibers, and adhesives. Cyrene, made from renewable cellulose, is so promising that the European Union awarded the company a grant to build a Cyrene production plant in France. Whitford also led the creation of DOZN, an evaluation system that compares the sustainability of chemicals, including environmental hazards they pose. Last year, the company debuted a free web-based tool called DOZN 2.0 that can be used by any scientist.

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