BERLIN, 17-18 May 2017 – UNIDO participated this week in the “Conference on Mainstreaming Sustainable Chemistry” organized in Berlin by Germany's Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. The event included the official launch of the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre – ISC3, a new international organization set up by the German Corporation for International Cooperation GmbH – GIZ, in Bonn, Germany, on behalf of the German Federal Government.
ISC3 aims to help overcome the challenges in the field of chemical safety and management, and to support the global breakthrough of the Sustainable Chemistry concept. Several UNIDO initiatives, such as the Global Chemical Leasing Programme and the Global Green Chemistry Project, are closely related to the ISC3's mission of establishing Sustainable Chemistry as a key component of sustainable development.
More than 200 participants from 40 countries came together for the Conference and the official opening of the Center to discuss Sustainable Chemistry and its implications for creating new business opportunities and new jobs, and for advancing the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Conference was officially opened by Barbara Hendricks, Germany's Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, who stressed that Germany “wants to pave the way towards sustainable chemistry – which is also the path towards a better future. Without this transformation we will not be able to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.
In her welcoming remarks, Maria Krautzberger, President of the German Environment Agency, added: "We need Sustainable Chemistry for a clean and safe environment. Sustainable Chemistry applies the precautionary principle. Wherever possible, it looks for and uses safe alternatives to hazardous substances, and it promotes innovative processes and recycling concepts.”
Krautzberger specifically mentioned Chemical Leasing as an innovative business model which adds value to the concept of Sustainable Chemistry. She added that Chemical Leasing would be a lighthouse example that “truly marks a paradigm shift: from selling of chemicals to the delivery of chemical services, which leads to a more efficient use of chemicals”. Krautzberger further noted that it is important to show and explain approaches of sound chemicals management that work, and that have significant economic and social benefits: “Chemical Leasing is one approach that can contribute to triggering the investments in sound chemical management that we need. It now will be an important part of ISC3's work to illustrate such lucrative opportunities of sustainable chemistry and to promote these ideas with industry worldwide.”
The 2-day programme included a high-level panel on “Sustainable Chemistry and the SDGs: Policy Options to Realize the 2030 Agenda”. The panelists explored several topics related to the concept of Sustainable Chemistry, including opportunities and challenges for advancing the 2030 Agenda, recommendations for the work of the ISC3 and several ideas to address specific SDGs from a Sustainable Chemistry perspective. Stephan Sicars, the Director of UNIDO's Department of Environment, stressed during the panel session that UNIDO understands Sustainable Chemistry as an umbrella concept that aims to contribute to positive, long-term sustainable industrial development, to build a circular economy and work towards the SDGs, especially SDG 9. He also presented UNIDO's relevant work on Resource-Efficiency and Cleaner Production (RECP), Chemical Leasing and Green Chemistry.
UNIDO's Petra Schwager also joined the event in her capacity as member of the ISC3's advisory board and Coordinator of UNIDO's Global Chemical Leasing Programme.
For more information on Chemical Leasing, click here.