The Green Product Design Network

Collaborating to invent sustainable solutions.


Governor's green chemistry initiative draws praise from UO leadership
EUGENE, Ore. — (April 27, 2012) — The nation's first college courses and textbook devoted to environmentally friendly green chemistry took root at the University of Oregon. Now green chemistry's goal to reduce toxicity in product development is poised to blossom as a state-preferred technology under the governor's Green Chemistry Innovation Initiative.

Gov. John Kitzhaber signed an executive order in Portland on Friday to launch the initiative. Read more...

Green Cleaning Products Working Group Established
In January 2011, the GPDN facilitated a partnership between UO Campus Operations and chemistry graduate students to create a greener and healthier campus for all UO students, faculty and staff.

After identifying hazards and comparing products the students are now developing a chemicals management policy...Read more


University of Oregon

September 27, 2011


UO Product Design director wins national young educator award.

Kiersten Muenchinger, associate professor at the University of Oregon, has been named Young Educator of the Year by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA).


She was recognized for her teaching and her work founding the UO’s Product Design Program, now in its fourth year. The award was presented at the IDSA Education Symposium on Sept. 14 in New Orleans...View full article.



Sustainable Business Oregon

Christina Williams
Published: September 8, 2011


Oregon green chemistry center wins $20M grant

A collaboration between two Oregon universities has paid off with a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop greener chemical processes.


The Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry, a collaboration between Oregon State University and the University of Oregon, beat out teams from two other universities to win the grant. The center joins the National Science Foundation’s Centers of Chemical Innovation program, which aims to support a new, greener chemical industry in the U.S. through university research... View full article.



University of Oregon

Jim Barlow
Published: September 8, 2011


Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry is going to Phase 2

A collaborative Oregon State University-University of Oregon Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry, born under a National Science Foundation grant in 2008, is moving into a second phase under a new five-year, $20 million NSF grant...View full article.



The Oregonian
Scott Learn
Published: Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Oregon could lead in green chemistry, Portland State study says, but 'fragmented' approach hinders progress

Oregon could take the lead in developing safer industrial chemicals, a new white paper from Portland State University concludes, but the state's "fragmented and uncoordinated" approach prevents focusing on the highest-risk chemicals and the most-threatened populations.

The paper, released today, highlights Oregon's green chemistry strengths.....View full article

Sustainable Business Oregon
Christina Williams
Published: July 6, 2011

PSU: Oregon should focus on greener chemicals

Researchers at Portland State University published a paper Wednesday highlighting Oregon's opportunities in the move toward more sustainable chemistry practices and calling for better coordination between organizations to help position the state as a leader. The paper, "Leadership in Sustainable Chemicals Policy: Opportunities for Oregon," is aiming to attract the attention of private companies and public agencies and uncover areas ripe for collaboration.

The paper, "Leadership in Sustainable Chemicals Policy: Opportunities for Oregon," is aiming to attract the attention of private companies and public agencies and uncover areas ripe for collaboration....View full article



GPDN-June 2011

GPDN Joins the Eco Index's Toxics Sub-group

Members of the Green Product Design Network Leadership Team joined a sub-group working to develop a tool that helps businesses address the potentially harmful chemistry of the apparel, footwear, and other products they produce. Sponsored by the Outdoor Industry Association, the group that includes some of the leading environmentally minded producers in the industry intend to construct a framework that tackles toxics in various phases of the life cycle---from process to residual chemicals and exposure risk during product use.


The Eco Index takes a life cycle approach to providing guidelines and tools businesses can use to assess and reduce environmental impacts. So far, complete tools for "footprinting" have been developed for Water, Waste, and Energy use. For more information.



Oregon Quarterly
Alice Tallmadge
Published: Summer 2011: Volume 90, Number 4


Team Green

Students in many disciplines work on eco-friendly products for a better world.

Last spring, students in Sara Huston’s product design class created…View full article

From their website:  Outstanding individuals, selected by their peers as 2011’s top prospective Northwest cleantech business leaders. The list of leaders includes a combination of proven leaders from well-known businesses like McKinstry, Microsoft and cleantech entrepreneurs developing alternative transportation, smart grid, smart storage and alternative energy, service providers, investors and the public sector. Every person on the list is participating in a way that will improve our competitiveness in the Northwest and the United States toward a cleaner, greener, economically stronger future.

Tom Osdoba
Title: Managing Director for Center for Sustainable Business
Company: University of Oregon
Managing Director for University of Oregon’s Center for Sustainable Business, a social entrepreneur and strategic advisor. Led cutting-edge sustainability work in Portland and Vancouver (BC). Created a sustainable regional economy framework, helped launch the Portland Sustainability Institute and Clean Energy Works Oregon. Led Vancouver initiatives for climate protection and sustainable development, creating a neighborhood-scale clean energy system and community engagement strategy on energy and climate change. Led effort to create Canada Carbon Trust, a collaborative, business initiative to accelerate investments to reduce carbon emissions.

Posted by Carrie Moore
Published: May 23, 2011

ICFF Wrap Up: Evolving From Sustainable Materials to Sustainable Design

CaraGreen just returned from the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York where we make the annual pilgrimage to scout for new and notable sustainable design trends….

….Another example of the evolution of sustainable design was forefront in the University of Oregon’s exhibition, 'The Shape of Sustainability is...Flat?'. This project explores flat pack furniture and life cycle analysis of furniture designed by students. The University of Oregon Product Design Program challenges current understandings of sustainable design, researches new possibilities, and defines new methods. Each student’s design embodied traditional design principles while quantifying environmental impacts from harvest through end of life.It is exciting to see sustainable design and life cycle thinking incorporated from design education to commercial products. We are already looking forward to next years offerings! …View full article

NY Daily News
Jason Sheftell
Published: May 20, 2011

Furnish a future: Startups, young designers dominate this year's ICFF

Cruising the aisles at this week’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair at the Javits Center was a little bit like being in Washington Square Park in the late 1960s…..

…..University of Oregon 
More smart flat-pack, this time from the University of Oregon, which in just three years has created an industrial design department that has become a force in furniture manufacturing. Already there are more than 100 undergraduate majors. 

This chair, which packs flat, …View full article

Design Milk
Posted by Jaime Derringer
Published: May 20, 2011

ICFF 2011: PART 2

This is Part 2 of my coverage of the 2011 International Contemporary Furniture Fair held in NYC this past week. Make sure to check out all our ICFF coverage here….

….University of Oregon’s challenge was to create flat-packed furniture. On the left in the back, you might recognize the paint chip bookshelf I just talked about.…View full article

NOWNESS: Daily Exclusives for your to Love
Reed Krakoff
Published: May 19, 2011

Reed Krakoff: Best of ICFF

The Coach Fashion Guru Plays Favorites at North America's Biggest Contemporary Furniture Fair

Reed Krakoff indulged his private passion for design objects at New York's annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair to curate a personal "Best of" list for NOWNESS. The Executive Creative Director of Coach, who also helms his own eponymous womenswear line, has filled his Upper East Side townhouse with museum-worthy pieces spanning Louis XVI Guildwood chairs to Ron Arad's contemporary stainless steel models. “It’s a question of, 'Is it inspiring and is it serving a function in an original and beautiful way?’” he says of his buying benchmark. With that in mind, Krakoff compiled his standouts from the trade conclave for home design.

Flat Impact by the University of Oregon A conceptual approach but a meaningful concept. These designers are obviously engaged with the practicalities of shipping and construction. All the furniture packs flat, and it appears there’s no hardware. I like that it all looks raw; I like the integrity of that.…View full article

Lloyd Alter, Toronto
Published: May 16, 2011

Flatpack Wonders From The University of Oregon

As always, the student work at ICFF is the most interesting. Students at The University of Oregon's product design school developed a line of flatpack furniture; some of them look like they might barely carry the weight, but others look IKEA-ready.…View full article

Design Milk
Posted by Jaime Derringer
Published: May 9, 2011


Matt Kennedy is a senior in the Product Design program at the University of Oregon, and he has a studio under the name Port Rhombus Design.

The Paintchip Bookshelf is a storage unit that is inspired by the paint chip samples. Each unit is modular, so it comes apart and easily stacks. If you want, you can even rearrange the shelves, turning that paint chip into a more playful option. You can buy one in the Port Rhombus Design Etsy shop.…View full article

By Ben Elgin
December 6, 2010

Energy Credits Prove Inflated With Green Claims Seen as Hot Air

Along the steel-gray Quinebaug River in eastern Connecticut, Duncan Broatch is tinkering with machinery that will keep one of his two hydroelectric plants cranking out clean energy. The U.S. needs Broatch’s Summit Hydropower Inc. and other green power providers to make a dent in the 35 percent of the country’s global-warming pollution that comes from burning fossil fuels to make electricity.

Broatch was hoping to build more hydro plants. He planned to get the money partly from selling renewable energy credits, widely used tools championed by businesses, conservationists and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. .....View full article

Green Packs
Posted by Siyahi
Published: Thursday, December 2, 2010

FTC Releases Revised Green Guides

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has come up with certain alterations to its Green Guides. The agency released a draft of the changes in October. The organization is also in the midst of accepting suggestions and comments from business firms before finalizing the rules.

The revised Green Guides advise marketers not to make blanket or general claims that a product is “environmentally friendly” or “eco-friendly,” as well as caution them not to use unqualified certifications or seals of approval and that the certifications or seals should be specific and clear.

The Green Guides Forum, held by the University of Oregon’s Green Product Design Network, had a discussion on Wednesday which highlighted the facts regarding how far ahead many of Oregon’s businesses are in developing and marketing environmentally friendly practices..... View full article

Portland Business Journal
Christina Williams
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

FTC plays catch up with Green Guides

A discussion Wednesday morning about the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s new Green Guides highlighted just how far ahead many of Oregon’s businesses are in developing — and marketing — environmentally friendly practices.

The FTC is in the midst of overhauling its so-called Green Guides — suggested limits on making green claims about products. The agency released a draft of the changes in October and is accepting comment from businesses before issuing the final rules. On the chopping block is the ability to use terms such as “eco-friendly” or “compostable” to describe a product without providing specifics to back it up.

At the Green Guides Forum, held by the University of Oregon’s Green Product Design Network, the consensus was that the FTC is playing catch-up by finally addressing greenwashing concerns — and that its proposed guide is far from perfect. ..... View full article

Sustainable Business Oregon
Jim Hutchison, University of Oregon
Published: October 11, 2010

What does Oregon need to do to keep our green economy moving?

One of the primary reasons the United States has been able to experience such prosperity is that we're good at attracting, nurturing and liberating creative minds to solve problems.

Oregon is no exception. In fact, our state has successfully created a niche as a leader in sustainability and is home to businesses that set the bar when it comes to green innovation. But with competition mounting from green and clean-tech efforts in China and India — not to mention other states — we need to raise that bar further. We must define the grand challenges that Oregon needs to address in order to ensure our green economy keeps moving and stays ahead of the pack. And by we, we mean all of us — including you. So we hope you’ll read on so we can set the stage, and then tell us what you think.

A growing proportion of Oregon's creative talent is.....View full article

Sustainable Business Oregon
Christina Williams
Published: October 7, 2010

Anastas: Oregon leads in green chemistry

Paul Anastas is the science adviser to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a onetime Yale professor. But he's probably best known for his honorary title, the "Father of Green Chemistry." And he thinks Oregon is a world leader in the green chemistry realm.

What sets the state apart? Excellent research. But in addition, Anastas admires how innovations in green chemistry — which emphasizes the use minimally toxic, environmentally friendly chemicals and processes — in Oregon is coupled with an emphasis on education.

The Oregon Environmental Council is hosting Anastas in Portland next week for the Growing Green Chemistry in Oregon, an event set up to introduce business leaders to the potential of green chemistry research and materials....View full article

Sustainable Business Oregon
Deborah Morrison
Published: October 4, 2010

Think green in communication

When a bright entrepreneur imagines a new idea to bring sustainability to the marketplace, what's the path to success?

In my experience, it goes something like this: The entrepreneur probably tapped into cutting-edge research grown right here in the state and re-imagined how that translates into a product or service. She's analyzed production and distribution channels, reviewed projections for the next few years, and found the partnerships to make this a reality. She knows her idea has possibilities to change the way people live. What could go wrong? ……View full article

EarthShift Newsletter
Published: October 2010

Integrating LCA as a key element in Sustainable Design Education

Erin Moore, Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon's Architecture Department, has added LCA as a topic in the Universities' already acclaimed number one graduate program in the US for Sustainable Design Education by Design Intelligence magazine.

The Lifecycle thinking is first introduced to undergraduates in a required Building Construction class as a means to get students thinking about the ecological connection of the products and processes used during the assembly and life of a building. "It helps them to get a picture of where products come from, where they go in the end and what impacts that has on the environment" says Moore.

Students in the program can then further their LCA knowledge through two additional seminars taught by Moore, Ecology of Building Materials and Intro to LCA for advanced graduate students…..View full article

Inviting Applications For: Green Product Design Network Public Relations Intern
The Green Product Design Network (GPDN), one of the five key “Big Ideas” strategic initiatives at the University of Oregon, invites UO students to apply for two newly created Internships in PR and multimedia storytelling.

The GPDN began with a group of leaders from the University of Oregon with expertise in green chemistry, product design, business and journalism and communication with an interest in inventing sustainable products that can be readily adopted and marketed to our larger society. The goal is to take ideas from invention to the marketplace in a way that has a more expedient and lasting impact on society.

The PR Intern will be part of the GPDN communications team (led by Professor Kim Sheehan) and will be responsible for communicating the GPDN’s work and accomplishment to outside stakeholders, including:

  • the UO community
  • the Green Scientific community
  • potential partners
  • potential funders

The duties of the Intern include:

  • writing, designing and distributing a bi-monthly newsletter about the GPDN including interviews, news updates, project updates, upcoming events, and more.
  • updating existing social media sites (Facebook, Twitter and Ning) with activities and events of the GPDN -monitoring online news services to update GPDN partners of news of interest to the group.
  • liaising with unit communication directors as well as University communication groups to make sure GPDN activities are highlighted.
  • liaising with the GPDN Multimedia Storytelling Intern to develop longer form stories of interest to stakeholders.

We are looking for either a graduate student or advanced undergraduate with strong writing skills who can work independently on this project. Experience (or the interest in learning) Adobe InDesign or a similar online program is necessary. Interest in sustainability is a huge plus.

The Multimedia Storytelling Intern will be part of the GPDN communications team (led by Professor Kim Sheehan) and will be responsible for documenting the GPDN’s work and accomplishments. This includes:

  • interviewing key GPDN members about their involvement with the GPDN and creating short format multimedia stories to highlight on the GPDN ning site
  • writing business profiles of key GPDN partners to become part of an archive and perhaps eventually a book about GPDN.
  • working with the PR Intern to develop longer-form stories to be disseminated to specific stakeholders with an intern in the GPDN. We are looking for either a graduate student or advanced undergraduate with strong writing and multimedia skills who can work independently on this project. Interest in sustainability is a huge plus. Interested? These internships can be taken for credit, and both Intern will be provided with a laptop loaded with the Adobe Suite. About ten hours per week are required. Please provide Professor Kim Sheehan ( with a letter of application and resume.

    Personal Communication
    Julie Haack
    Published: July 2010

    Deborah Morrison and Kim Sheehan receive Meyer sustainability grant for course development in sustainability branding

    Deborah Morrison and Kim Sheehan were awarded a Meyers Sustainability Grant for their proposal entitled "A Proposal to Create Advertising + Brand Leaders for Strategies in Sustainability.” The grant will fund the development of two classes to be taught for the first time in the 2010/2011 school year.

    The first class will be address basics in sustainability communications and will allow students to explore questions such as:

    -what is sustainability?
    -what are the challenges to understanding sustainability?
    -how is sustainability perceived by different groups, including academics, scientists, consumers, children, college students, marketers, and others? -what are good and bad ways to communicate sustainability?

    Students will assess the 'green' nature of products from a variety of perspectives (such as a life cycle perspective).

    The second class will be a brand leadership class for a select group of students to further investigate developing green brand strategies. Students will research consumer perceptions of green products and sustainable lifestyle practices and research different types of messages that appeal to them.

    For both classes, a spring term even at the Turnbull Center in Portland will allow students to present ideas and receive feedbacks from industry leaders.

    The Register-Guard
    Ilene Aleshire
    Published:Thursday, Jul 29, 2010

    Magazine lauds Eugene for its 'green' capitalism

    Entrepreneur Magazine has named Eugene the top town in the country for “Green Scenes: Where capitalism meets eco-consciousness.”

    And University of Oregon professor Michael Russo couldn’t be happier — particularly because the word “capitalism” is included in the accolade.

    “This puts us in the public eye when there’s a potential entrepreneur looking for a location where their approach to business will be appreciated, a place where they can locate and there will be employees and institutions that will support their own enterprise,” said Russo, the Charles H. Lundquist Professor of Sustainable Management at UO.... View full article.

    Oregon Daily Emerald
    Kaitlin Flanigan | News editor
    Published: Monday, July 26, 2010

    Designing the future: Experimental materials class works with local businesses to create sustainable car interior

    The challenge was to create a sustainable car interior; the solution ended up being a collaborative effort between University students and local businesses.

    University product design students participating in the Green Product Design Network created sustainable car interiors with the help of Eugene-based electric car manufacturer Arcimoto and Beaverton-based material design company Uliko Studio.
 View full article

    Press Release
    University of Oregon Media Relations
    Published: July 21, 2010

    UO product design professor earns international recognitions: John Arndt combines utility and simplicity in household objects

    The product designs of University of Oregon associate professor John Arndt have been winning international acclaim through awards, exhibits and publications. His concept kitchen "Flow 2" recently received a Silver International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) in the Home Living category. Arndt, who teaches in the UO product design program, also has furniture and other designs displayed in a current exhibit in Berlin, Germany, and had one piece at an April exhibit in Milan, Italy…. View full article

    Additional Links Living kitchen wins international award

    Sustainable Business Oregon
    Lee van der Voo,
Sustainable Business Oregon
    Published: Thursday, July 8, 2010, 9:51am PDT

    Green chemistry group seeks $2.5 million

    Proponents of green chemistry are seeking $2.5 million to spur development of a sector they say holds promise for the state.

    The Oregon Environmental Council is asking for funding from Oregon InC (the Oregon Innovation Council), which funnels money to emerging and established industries through funds allocated by the Oregon Legislature. They are well known for their support of nanotech.

    The bid for funding from OEC comes on the heels of a report by the organization’s Oregon Green Chemistry Advisory Group,…. View full article

    Oregon Environmental Council
    Oregon Environmental Council
    Published: June 2010

    Advancing Green Chemistry in Oregon Report

    Advancing Green Chemistry in Oregon is the outcome of a six-month study by the Oregon Green Chemistry Advisory Group, which was convened by Oregon Environmental Council and is comprised of leaders from industry, academia, public agencies and non-governmental organizations. The advisory group believes its recommendations will further the development of green chemistry in Oregon—and help the state maintain its place as a leader of sustainable business. See the report here.

    Sustainable Business Oregon
    Andrea Durbin Oregon Environmental Council
    Published: Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    How green chemistry can boost Oregon business

    Imagine a chemist harnessing the properties of marine mussel secretions to create a soy-flour-based adhesive for plywood that is stronger and more moisture resistant than the industry-standard toxic formaldehyde adhesive.

    Now what if I told you that this new adhesive costs the same as the old one — but is so environmentally benign that it is compostable and could reduce a mill’s emissions by as much as 95 percent while protecting workers’ health? I’m guessing you’d leap at the chance to use this affordable, sustainable substance. Columbia Forest Products did just that in 2007, and solidified its leadership position in the decorative plywood market.

    That is the promise of green chemistry.... View full article

    UO News Release
    Jim Barlow University of Oregon
    Published: June 18, 2010

    A primer at the 5th annual Greener Nano Conference: UO's Hutchison and McKenzie make pitches for green chemistry in nanotechnology

    PORTLAND, Ore. -- (June 18, 2010) -- Nanotechnology is now the top applied-science priority in the world, and that effort is being led by industry but in strong collaboration across disciplines. However, putting undergraduate-level students into nanotechnology's adoption of green chemistry principles remains vitally important.

    Those messages were among many that were delivered June 16 to opening-day participants of the fifth annual Greener Nano Conference sponsored the Safer Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing Initiative (SNNI) of the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI).

    About half of the conference's more-than-100 participants from both industry and academia attended the opening Greener Nano 101 Workshop ... View full article

    University of Oregon, Oregon Daily Emerald
    Sarah Walters | News reporter
    Published: Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    Promoting sustainable consumption: Group combines chemistry, business, journalism focuses to encourage green design

    The Green Product Design Network (GPDN) is a group of University leaders who are experts in green chemistry, product design, business and journalism with an interest in inventing sustainable products that can be readily adopted and marketed to society at large.

    The GPDN is a new and evolving network at the University. Members of the leadership team of the GPDN are chemistry professor Julie Haack, chemistry professor Jim Hutchison, product design associate professor Kiersten Muenchinger, Lundquist College of Business Managing Director of Center for Sustainable Business Practices Tom Osdoba, and journalism professor Kim Sheehan.

    The GPDN’s goal is to take ideas from inventions into the marketplace to create a long-term impact on society, according to the GPDN’s Web site....View full article

    Sustainable Business Oregon
    Jim Hutchison, University of Oregon
    Monday, May 17, 2010, 9:25am PDT

    Teaming up for green innovation

    Take a look at the recent “Future Friendly” marketing campaign and you can see how companies such as Proctor & Gamble are working to make being green easy — for consumers.

    That may be a fine strategy from a consumer-marketing standpoint, but from an innovation or R&D perspective it is not so easy being green.

    Developing a sustainable product or process is a complex endeavor. Evaluating product performance is an evolving process, and advances in one area ... View full article

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