The Environmental Genome Initiative is a rich resource for information on the chemicals used to produce all of the products and services we use, their emissions, their impact on the environment, improved production processes, the health of our oceans and rivers, the need for energy and water conservation, the relationship between pollutants and chronic disease, better informed product purchasing, tools for tracking cyber theft of products, environmental influence of U.S electrical grid modernization by 2050, and circularity of corporate goals. If you’re a member of the press and want to talk, please get in touch with us.

Environmental Genome Initiative Overview

The nonprofit Environmental Genome Initiative is collaborating with investors, foundations, corporations, public policymakers, and the philanthropic community to build a powerful collaboration resource to address some of the most pressing problems – and opportunities – of our day. Among them: the use of product choices to reduce global warming, better informed product purchasing, the relationship between pollutants and chronic disease, the health of our oceans and rivers, the need for energy and water conservation, diagnostic tools that support national and corporate security, sustainable product design to achieve reduced environmental impacts, vanishing elements needed in our products, and improved production processes.

The EG open-source database maps the carbon footprint of the industrial chemicals used in all the trillions of materials and products consumed globally. It enables the detailed estimate of greenhouse gas emissions and provides the means for credible public disclosures of the direct and indirect emissions of manufactured products that regulators, investors, corporate procurement professionals, and customers worldwide are moving toward. 

The high level of detail in the EG database supports numerous, diverse opportunities.  These include sustainable product design, high potential return from analytics and software applications based on the EG database, tools and data to protect corporate intellectual property in product manufacturing and design, and large challenges in dealing with global supply chain affecting our national security

Currently all stakeholders are reliant on a life cycle industry with datasets still in development. Too often firms rely on environmental impact studies built on secondary information based on industry averages inappropriate for this use. The results are imprecise and highly variable (+/- 400 to 1,000%).

The Environmental Genome’s datasets provide the most actionable and accurate (+/- 10 to 20%) estimates available for Life Cycle Assessment – used worldwide to study the environmental and economic impacts of product and services throughout the product life cycle  from raw materials acquisition and processing, manufacturing and packaging, distribution, use, and disposal.

Our database is the next generation in the life cycle field, providing primary data on content, design, manufacturing processes, energy use, and chemical emissions (including fugitive emissions) at the product level, for many corporate programs. Our data files are substantially transparent and engineering-based with processes described and calculations available.

Our’s is the largest chemicals/materials life cycle inventory database in the world (based on CAS-numbered chemicals), many times larger than its closest competitor, providing the means for Scope 3 reporting of the indirect emissions of a company’s suppliers and others in the upstream and downstream activities in their supply chains.

Download our LCA Comparison Chart

Organizational History

The nonprofit Environmental Genome Initiative was founded after Dr. Michael Overcash, Ph.D., and a number of his colleagues discovered a repeating pyramidal shape as they mapped detailed chemical manufacturing processes. That piqued the interest of the scientific community when it was revealed in a paper published by Dr. Overcash in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Green Chemistry Journal in March 2016.

The discovery was awarded the 2016 Innovation in Smart Chemistry Award, sponsored by Nike, NASA, the U.S. Department of State, the American Chemical Society Green Chemical Institute, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, attracting the interest of major corporations, public policy makers, and the philanthropic community.

Facts

Headquarters: Raleigh, North Carolina

Founder: Dr. Michael Overcash

Milestones:

2016 – Dr. Overcash and his colleagues discovered a repeating pyramidal shape for environmental genomic building blocks.

The discovery was awarded the 2016 Innovation in Smart Chemistry Award, sponsored by Nike, NASA, the U.S. Department of State, the American Chemical Society Green Chemical Institute, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

2017 – The nonprofit Environmental Genome Initiative was formed

2019 – Guidestar Transparency Award for nonprofits

Media Contact: Dr. Michael Overcash  mrovercash@earthlink.net               919-571-8989

Topics

Tools for tracking national and corporate cyber theft, the health impacts of exposures to emissions to air, water, and land; environmental pollutants and chronic disease causation, product design concepts and environmental impacts, carbon, water, and other environmental footprints; pollutants in the land, air, oceans, and rivers and pollution prevention; global warming and climate change; national and international environmental policies, regulations, and regulatory proposals; ; manufacturing product, process, and supply chain improvement

the chemicals used to produce all of the products and services we use, their emissions, their impact on the environment, improved production processes, the need for energy and water conservation, better informed product purchasing, the relationship between pollutants and chronic disease, tools for tracking cyber theft of products, environmental influence of U.S electrical grid modernization by 2050, circularity of corporate goals, and the health of our oceans and rivers,

The nonprofit Environmental Genome Initiative was founded in 2017. Dr. Overcash, a chemical engineer and an environmental specialist who has researched industrial pollution prevention since 1980, was joined by scientists specializing in chemical engineering, industrial engineering, environmental health and human health. The group had   focused much of their work on green energy, process and sustainable systems engineering, chemical circularity as well as life cycle impact and risk modeling.

To date, more than 2,000 detailed chemical manufacturing processes with a wide variety of molecular structures, elemental compositions, and commercial uses have been mapped. The goal is to produce the map of the environmental footprints of all products by first establishing the carbon footprint of the industrial chemicals used, a critical base of any product. It will provide the primary data and the means for Scope 3 reporting of the indirect emissions of a company’s suppliers and others in the upstream and downstream activities in their supply chains.

The Future

The nonprofit Environmental Genome Initiative promises to create a new ability to visualize and study the genomic structure of all chemical building blocks — from their origins in the earth, to their manufacture, to how they enter our environment – which will bring insights into problems and solutions that will lead to safer, healthier lives for all. The environmental genome thus enables the global interest in the carbon and the environmental footprints of all society’s products.

With data overlays, our database will allow research into a myriad of public health and safety issues such as the relationship between environmental pollutants and chronic disease. Epidemiologists attribute 70-90% of chronic illnesses to the environment, of which pollutants are a major component. We believe it will yield other large, unforeseen economic and health benefits, just as mapping the human genome enabled.

Today this powerful collaborative resource is the largest transparent chemicals/materials life cycle inventory database in the world – and growing. We aim to work together with people and organizations who share our goals and invite investors, foundations, product manufacturers and industry associations, and government agencies to work with us.

Applications for the Environmental Genome Database

Compliance, Communications and Competitiveness

  • Compliance with local, national, and international environmental regulations
  • Carbon footprint
  • Environmental Product Declarations
  • Building certification
  • Health, safety, and sustainability claims
  • Product comparisons
  • Product cost reductions
  • Product labeling
  • Increase competitiveness through chemical improvements and innovation 
  • Safety and risk assessments
  • Sustainable procurement
  • Water footprint

Public Health Information Related to all the Products we Consume

  • Estimate the health impacts of exposures to emissions to air, water, and land
  • Develop new life science applications
  • Research and improvements in the social determinants of health (SDOH) with manufacturing plant data on emissions and disability-adjusted life years (DALY)
  • Quantify the environmental pollutant origins affecting nearly one billion people globally with chronic diseases
  • Research on ways in which maternal fetal health is impacted by exposure to environmental pollutants
  • Quantify environmental disparity
  • Estimate fugitive emissions

National Competitiveness and Security

  • Reduce dependence on foreign supply chains
  • Identify undisclosed production of chemical weapons
  • Unauthorized production of cyber technology, e.g., stealth coatings
  • Measure chemical discharges after natural or manmade accidents and events
  • Corporate patent violations

Manufacturing and Product Design Improvement

  • Energy and mass efficiency
  • Analysis to facilitate technological innovations for energy and material conservation, improved processes, and sustainable product designs
  • Better manufacturing supply chains
  • Lower costs due to pollution prevention, reduced water and carbon impacts, and greater efficiencies
  • Quantify the environmental impacts of new chemicals, materials, colors, coatings, etc. in product designs
  • Tools that meet the fast-paced demands of the product design process
  • Capture customer benefits in environmental improvements