Chemistry International
Vol. 21, No.1, January 1999

1999, Vol. 21
No. 1 (January)
..Chemistry in Africa
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Chemistry International
Vol. 21, No. 1
January 1999

Reports from IUPAC Sponsored Symposia

The OECD Workshop on Sustainable Chemistry, 15-17 October 1998, Venice, Italy

The Workshop on Sustainable Chemistry (hosted by the Interuniversity Consortium Chemistry for the Environment) was held at Fondazione Cini (Venice, Italy) from 15-17 October 1998. This international event was co-sponsored by the governments of Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States in cooperation with the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC). Also participating in the organization of the workshop were the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) and the Interuniversity Consortium Chemistry for the Environment.

Joe Carra (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and Pietro Tundo (Interuniversity Consortium Chemistry for the Environment) co-chaired the workshop. Seventy-five experts attended, representing 16 member countries, the European Commission, industry, and nongovernmental organizations.

Within the broad framework of sustainable development, we should strive to maximize resource efficiency through activities such as energy and nonrenewable resource conservation, risk minimization, pollution prevention, minimization of waste at all stages of a product's life cycle, and the development of products that are durable and can be reused and recycled. Sustainable chemistry strives to accomplish these ends through the design, manufacture, and use of efficient and effective, more environmentally benign chemical products and processes.

Prior to the workshop a survey was conducted to collect basic information on sustainable chemistry activities recently completed or ongoing in member countries. This information included activities initiated by governments, academia, and industry, and which are managed solely by one of these parties or in a collaborative fashion (e.g., government/industry partnership). The results of this survey were discussed at the workshop.

The workshop focused on the policy/programmatic aspects of sustainable chemistry initiatives, as compared to the technical aspects of any particular approach, with a mandate to

  1. identify the types of sustainable chemistry activities underway;
  2. identify effective techniques and approaches in the field of sustainable chemistry (including educational approaches), highlighting problems encountered and considering solutions; and
  3. identify activities that can further the development and use of sustainable chemistry programs.

Breakout Sessions
Five breakout sessions were held in parallel, at which the topics listed above were discussed. The results from these discussions were reported in the plenary session. The plenary session then developed a consolidated paper summarising the discussions and recommending further work.

Breakout Session 1

  • Object: Recognize sustainable chemistry accomplishments by the chemical industry and scientists in universities and research institutions
  • Co-chairs: Paul Anastas (U.S. Environment Protection Agency) and Ferruccio Trifirò (University of Bologna, Italy)
  • Goal: Provide effective awards and recognition for the purpose of promoting sustainable chemistry
Breakout Session 2
  • Object: Dissemination of technical information and event information related to sustainable chemistry
  • Co-chairs: Joe Breen (U.S. Green Chemistry Institute) and Alvise Perosa (Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy); rapporteur: Dennis Hjeresen (Los Alamos National Laboratory)
  • Goals: Promote the development and functioning of an international sustainable chemistry community
Breakout Session 3
  • Object: Support and promote the research, discovery, and development of innovative sustainable chemistry technologies
  • Co-chairs: Masao Kitajima (Japan Chemical Innovation Institute) and Junshi Miyamoto (IUPAC); rapporteur: Uwe Wolcke (Bundesanstalt für Arbeitschutz und Arbeitsmedizin)
  • Goals: Stimulation of interest in assessments, industry, academia, and the public in sustainable chemistry as a basis for national and international research programs; identification of mechanisms to support/promote research; description of ways to implement research programs
Breakout Session 4
  • Object: Develop guidance on how to implement sustainable chemistry programs for use by OECD member countries and others
  • Co-chairs: Peter Hinchcliffe (UK Department of Environment, Transport, and Regions) and Herwig Hulpke (BAYER - AG); rapporteur: John Keating (Canada Natural Resources)
  • Goal: Individuate the mechanisms to develop guidance on how to implement sustainable chemistry programs for use by OECD member countries and others
Breakout Session 5
  • Object: Promote incorporation of sustainable chemistry principles into the various levels of chemical education
  • Co-chairs: Tracy Williamson (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and Giuseppe Blasco (Inter-university Consortium Chemistry for the Environment, Italy); rapporteur: John Warner (University of Massachusetts).
  • Goals: Educate all people involved in products and processes on sustainable chemistry; includes those who currently are involved as well as those who will be involved in the future; includes educators.

It was evident from the workshop that there is considerable interest and enthusiasm within academia, industry, government, and NGOs for both the basic concepts and practical developments in the field of sustainable chemistry. Italy, Japan, Germany, the United States, and Austria presented considerable information on developments in sustainable chemistry.




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