By Krishna Padia, Green ChemisTree Foundation, Mumbai, India
The Green ChemisTree Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Mumbai, India. The Foundation works to increase technical knowledge in green chemistry in all sectors of the economy. Through outreach efforts, collaborations, conferences and educational initiatives, Green ChemisTree is playing a significant role in helping to grow green chemistry in India and beyond.
This impactful organization began just 11 years ago, when a small group of individuals got inspired by their participation in ACS Green Chemistry Institute’s Green Chemistry & Engineering (GC&E) Conferences. The founders of Green ChemisTree, Bhadresh Padia and Nitesh Mehta, attended the GC&E Conference for the first time in 2008, immediately after their visit to a premier chemical industry trade show in Europe. Exposure to both these coinciding events laid the foundation for Green ChemisTree.
At the chemical industry trade show, Bhadresh and Nitesh who were visiting the EXPO as technocrats, realized how the chemical manufacturing companies in India were gearing up for large-scale production of complex chemical synthesis, with little OR no apprehension of the environmental impact due to this expansion. While the manufacturing expansion was a great and timely opportunity for India, the accompanying environmental concerns were undeniable. With these thoughts and concerns in the back of their mind, they landed at the GC&E Conference at Washington, DC. It was a remarkable contrast—seeing diverse stakeholders from industry, academia, researchers, etc., coming together on a common platform with a single agenda to engage in the advancement of green chemistry and green engineering initiatives and practices.
It was at the GC&E Conference that they realized the answer to the environmental concerns of India’s burgeoning chemical manufacturing practices was green chemistry. They took home the possibility of creating a similar “ecosystem” in India, wherein diverse stakeholders would come together to recognize their individual and collective roles towards expanding the implementation of green chemistry and green engineering practices. This was the genesis of India’s flagship initiative – the Industrial Green Chemistry World (IGCW) Convention series, launched in 2009.
In 2009, the first IGCW was titled the “Industrial Green Chemistry Workshop” – launched under the aegis of “Fathers of Green Chemistry” – Paul Anastas and John Warner, who generously contributed their time and expertise to address 100+ senior leaders of Indian chemical Industry (pictured right). Over the years, the IGCW initiative has been evolved both literally as well as in its scope from being an “Industrial Green Chemistry Workshop” to an all-encompassing “Industrial Green Chemistry World”.
The IGCW Convention and Ecosystem, is now globally recognized as India’s premier platform, focusing on facilitating the implementation of GC&E practices in Indian Chemical Industry. It is uniquely designed to address the felt-need of the Industry’s GC&E requirements, connect diverse stakeholders such as Industry, Academia, Research Institutes, Regulatory bodies, Policy makers, etc. towards a common agenda of accelerating the implementation of GC&E in India.
The upcoming IGCW in October 2019, will be the 6th edition, incorporating 12 distinct dimensions (parallel events) across the two-day Convention. Each of these parallel events are subject-specific events, targeted to a focused audience for taking back maximum tangible value out of their participation.
There are an increasing number of case-studies and success stories that indicate how the IGCW platform is indeed serving as a facilitator for companies in India to initiate GC&E practices at various levels within their respective organisation.
The ACS GCI’s active involvement over the years, and particularly with consistent mentoring by the former Director and current Science Director, Dr. David Constable (pictured left), the IGCW platform has now emerged as a robust platform for the Indian Chemical Industry and beyond to explore, engage in and expand their GC&E strategies and practices.
IGCW Ecosystem participation since 2009
Apart from the IGCW initiative, which happens once every two years, the Green ChemisTree Foundation has kept the Green Chemistry momentum active and accelerating in India through it various other deliberations – both locally and globally.
Above: Members of the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable at the workshop in 2018.
One of it is the collaborative initiative with the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable of co-organizing Green Chemistry capacity building Conferences and Workshops exclusively for the Pharma API manufacturing companies in India. This collaborative initiative has led to a palpable momentum in the adoption of GC&E practices in Indian Pharma API companies.
The sector-specific and region-centric Workshops has enabled the Foundation to intensify its reach out to small and medium sized chemical companies, which comprises nearly 70% of Indian chemical manufacturing industry.
The Foundation has also been consistently facilitating over the years focused Workshops for chemistry teachers, Ph.D. / masters students; and recently launched Green Chemistry Awareness programs at schools’ level.
Above: Workshops for teachers and students hosted by Green ChemisTree Foundation.
Recognizing Green ChemisTree’s committed efforts, the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale (CGCGE) in its collaboration with UNIDO to promote green chemistry around the world, invited Green ChemisTree Foundation to conduct a five-day “Train the Facilitators” program in Sri Lanka (pictured right).
With this escalating momentum of Green Chemistry in India, the Foundation has expanded the scope and depth of its activities. One of the upcoming promises of the Foundation is to create a web portal cum app listing relevant environmental, green chemistry & green engineering solution providers from across the globe, easily accessible by Indian chemical industry.
To know more about Green ChemisTree or to get involved with the Foundation’s ongoing activities, you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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