The 4th Green & Sustainable Chemistry Conference took place in Germany from 5 to 8 May 2019.
The event addressed broad topics that highlighted the role of chemistry in contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including in developing countries.
In his welcome, the Chair, Klaus Kümmerer, Director of the Institute for Sustainable and Environmental Chemistry at Leuphana University in Germany, said: “In times when the progress of technology and industrial developments are extremely fast, the Earth's population and demand for resources is increasing, green and sustainable chemistry is needed more than ever. Products of chemical industries e.g. petrochemicals, polymers and plastics, agrochemicals (pesticides, fertilizers), detergents, cleaning agents and personal care products, durable construction materials and effective pharmaceuticals are a basis of the high living standard and ever-increasing life expectancy.
“Chemical products are present in almost all aspects of human life. Therefore, the chemical science and chemical industry are of utmost importance and have a crucial impact on future developments. Surprisingly, not only is industrial waste, i.e. untreated and unwanted waste water or emissions into the air, the main pollutant of the chemical industry but, in many countries, the products themselves are! In some countries products of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries – such as micro pollutants, macro and micro plastics, electronic waste – to mention just a few - create by far the most important emissions into the environment.
“Chemists in academia, industries and authorities currently face an extremely difficult challenge: to shape the transformation of the chemical and pharmaceutical industry - including their products. Green and sustainable chemistry offers promising approaches that are indispensable in this process. Green chemistry is focused on chemical products and processes. Sustainability begins with the function needed, seeks for non-chemical alternatives and includes circular economy, life-cycles of products, materials and substance flows and connected energy flows, green chemistry, as well as social, ecological, and economic development and ethics. Education plays an eminent role there too.”
National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa hosted a one-day Awareness Raising Workshop on Green Chemistry in Pretoria on 17 April 2018. The event was part of the Yale-UNIDO Global Green Chemistry Initiative to increase the general global awareness and capacities on deployable Green Chemistry. The initiative is funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF). The workshop was the fifth in a series of global workshops and was uniquely customized to introduce Green Chemistry to stakeholders who are interested in the design of products and processes that advance global sustainability.
The event was attended by representatives from government, industry, academia, and non-profits. There were also attendees – in-person and remotely – from Uganda, Ghana, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. The workshop was opened by NCPC-SA Director Ndivhuho Raphulu, followed with the workshop led by Professor Paul Anastas and Professor Julie Zimmerman.
The Awareness Raising Workshop consisted of four modules:
Following a closing panel, NCPC-SA Director Ndivhuho Raphulu closed the workshop and highlighted the importance and relevance of shifting traditional chemistry production into green chemistry. Director Raphulu stated “The workshop was a crucial step in laying the foundation for transformative chemical engineering practices. It served to highlight the need for chemists and engineers to bring their research and innovations in support of green industry, out of the laboratory and into the boardroom.”