More than 110 experts from Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America joined the dialogue on Green and Sustainable Chemistry at the first Stakeholder Forum of the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3) in Bonn/Germany, 21 – 22 June 2019.
As a new collaborative centre, the ISC3 invited experts from the public and the private sector as well as from academia and civil society to discuss the emerging concept of sustainable chemistry and engage in the transformative activities of the ISC3.
“Delivered at scale, sustainable chemistry can make an important contribution to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals as well as to the sound management of chemicals and waste. As a new international collaborative centre, the ISC3 believes in the power of dialogue and cooperation as key drivers of transformative change. With the first Stakeholder Forum the ISC3 seeks to interlink representatives from policy, industry, academia and civil society, discuss how sustainable chemistry can contribute to sustainable development and become a solution provider for a circular, climate-resilient society”, says Friedrich Barth, Managing Director of the ISC3. The centre is grateful to have received very positive feedback from the participants and looks forward to the future engagement with the growing international Sustainable Chemistry community.
Towards a common understanding of sustainable chemistry
The ISC3 Stakeholder Forum invited the participants to join the international dialogue “Towards a Common Understanding of Sustainable Chemistry” and discuss the ISC3 Thought Starter "Reaping the full potential of sustainable chemistry for SAICM, the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste beyond 2020 and the 2030 Agenda”. The ongoing international debate expectations towards sustainable chemistry differ between the stakeholder groups. Developing a common understanding of sustainable chemistry therefore seems to be vital for the future implementation of the new transformative concept. To address the different perspectives, expectations and criteria, the ISC3 provided on open forum for dialogue at the first day of the Stakeholder Forum. Issues raised during the discussion were the high relevance of a holistic approach, the consideration of the whole life cycle of products, the benign by design concept and circular processes in chemical manufacturing processes. The debate is documented and made accessible to all interested parties by the ISC3 team. Further information on the dialogue process can be found at the ISC3 webpage.
Research and Education play an important role
The participants agreed that the chemical sector plays an important role on the way towards achieving the 2030 Agenda. As a key contribution on this way, the participants highlighted the importance of research activities and the need for a better understanding of how Sustainable Chemistry can contribute to a circular economy – considering opportunities as well as challenges on this way. To raise awareness and foster a new sustainability-oriented mindset in chemical sciences and beyond, education, capacity building and international collaborative partnerships were recommended by the participants as high priority medium term goals.
Promising new business models bring transformation to the markets
The experts also agreed that innovation, start-ups and new business models are key elements in the transformation of the chemicals sector. During the Stakeholder Forum the ISC3 Innovation Hub gathered valuable feedback on its key activities: the Global Start-up Service and the ISC3 Innovation Challenge. The participants emphasized the importance of capacity building and mentoring to build up an entrepreneurial ecosystem and encourage innovators to become entrepreneurs. The need for collaboration and matchmaking has also been discussed, as start-ups need assistance in accessing potential partners and funding opportunities.
New partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America joined the ISC3 Spiderweb Network
During the conference three Memoranda of Understanding were signed to set up new co-operations of the ISC3 with organizations from Africa, Asia and South America. The ISC3 now collaborates with the National Agency for Research and Innovation of Uruguay (ANII), the Green ChemisTree Foundation (India) and the Egyptian social enterprise Youthinkgreen. The organizations joined the global ISC3 Spiderweb Network of the Global Start-up Service, created by the ISC3 Innovation Hub to support entrepreneurs along the whole innovation chain.