Green chemistry was "born" at the beginning of the 1990s when the Pollution and Prevention Act was passed in the United States.  The stated that prevention was better than a cure and also recognised that a variety of disciplines needed to be involved to achieve the desired goals.  The early developments occurred mainly in the United States, as documented below, but many other countries also developed similar initiatives.

1991: The first research initiative of the Green Chemistry Program was launched by the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics in the United States Environmental Protection  Agency.

1992: The National Science Foundations program on environmentally benign syntheses and processes was launched.

1993: "United States Green Chemistry Program" became the officially adopted name.

1995: The presidential green chemistry challenge awards were started as a way recognising accomplishments in this field.

The United Kingdom, Japan, Australia and Italy, along with others, adopted similar awards the highlight the environmental and economic accomplishments regarding green chemistry practices. In the early 90s, the United Kingdom launched many research and educational programs and Italy launched INCA - a multi-university consortium, with green chemistry as a central issue.  In the late 90s, Japan followed suit and launched the Green and Sustainable Chemistry Network.

Due to increasing interest, the Royal Society of Chemistry launched "Green Chemistry", a journal intended to inform people about the latest developments in the green chemistry revolution.  In the mid-90s, the RSC also launched the Green Chemistry Network.

October 2001 saw the launch of the CRYSTAL-Faraday partnership by IChemE, RSC and the Chemical Industries Association.  This partnership was funded by Lord Sainsbury, the DTI and various research councils.  It's aim was to boost green chemistry technology and it is thought that it will be vital in promoting research and change of industrial processes, which will benefit the environment and UK industry in the global market.