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Global Sustainability – Connecting Nations through Green Chemistry

ACSGCI
Valued Contributor II
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By Dr. Karolina Mellor, Hannah S. Feldman, and Dr. Lars Ratjen, Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering at Yale University

Green chemistry and green engineering will play a vital role in facing many of the countless challenges and burdens the rapid industrialization of the last decades has put on our planet. A thriving area of research since its introduction in the 1990s, green chemistry focuses on truly sustainable design of chemicals, materials, and technologies.

While the impressive progress has touched virtually all sectors of industry and our everyday lives, these accomplishments have taken place largely in the industrialized nations of the world. However, there are promising efforts to advance Green Chemistry in a number of emerging economies and countries in transition, but a lack of awareness and reliable mechanisms of implementation is hindering its broad adoption and availability in these fast-growing parts of the world. As representatives of industrialized nations, we have to face our responsibility to support emerging nations with knowledge and resources which we acquired en route to our current state of development. We have to avoid the repetition of treacherous mistakes, and support transnational collaboration and support mechanisms to further true global sustainability.

There have been a number of efforts trying to address that issue, and the Yale Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have been strong partners in the continuous endeavors to advance the worldwide adoption of green chemistry and sustainable design principles. The 2017-2020 Global Green Chemistry Initiative, a joint project between Yale and UNIDO, successfully brought awareness-raising events and workshops to partners in Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Serbia, South Africa, and Sri Lanka. As a further testament of a continuously growing interest around Green Chemistry, especially in the Global South, Yale’s Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering, UNIDO, and the ACS Green Chemistry Institute are very proud to hold a special symposium entitled Global sustainability – connecting nations through green chemistry,” part of the 27th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, “Closing the Loop: Chemistry for a Sustainable Future,” June 13-15, 2023 in Long Beach, CA and online.

This symposium seeks to create an international platform for stakeholders involved in the development of technologies and businesses tackling global problems. Exciting sustainable ideas from industry and academia will be highlighted, as well as businesses from different parts of the world and in all states of development. A focus will be put on technologies contributing to the solution of urgent problems such as the climate crisis, global environmental contamination, food production, and water/energy safety through green chemistry and engineering.

The Yale Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering together with UNIDO will continue their strong partnership to advance the worldwide adoption of green chemistry and sustainable design principles. The successful cooperation between Yale and UNIDO will be further tightened by a new program, dedicated to the development of an integrated international network, linking fundamental green

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chemistry efforts in emerging economies with established green chemistry centers in different parts of the planet. This network, designed with well-experienced partners from various countries, will then be utilized for the successful creation of business accelerators and incubators in partnering economies across the globe, focusing on Indonesia, Jordan, Peru, Serbia, Uganda, and Ukraine. The program is envisioned to foster the development of green chemistry ideas and facilitate their up-scaling and commercialization, forming an essential part in the crucial development of strong local economies in a sustainable way. The successful implementation of these green chemistry applications will display that green chemistry has the potential to act as an overarching guiding principle, also in the Global South, and that efforts like this will continue to demonstrate that we can create economic, social, and environmental win-win-win situations through sustainable innovation. In particular, the design and commercialization of safer chemicals and technologies offer opportunities to create wealth, reduce risks, hazards, and health impacts from man-made chemical pollution, and protect natural systems and human life.

The 27th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference is the perfect stage to bring the green chemistry community together to forward the above goals, uphold the promise of global connections, and demonstrate the power of collaboration and interdisciplinarity. Circular Economy has always been one of the guiding principles of green chemistry and engineering, and endeavors toward fulfilling these principles are ever increasing.

Submit abstracts for this symposium and others at the 27th Annual GC&E Conference from now until February 13, 2023: https://www.gcande.org/.

We hope to see you very soon in Long Beach.