As SusChem’s vision and mission underline, we believe that sustainable chemistry has a huge part to play in solving society’s current and future challenges.
In particular, innovation from the chemical sector will be essential to achieve the transition to a sustainable low-carbon economy.
These challenges are reflected in our policy issues and include meeting future energy needs, reducing our energy and water consumption and emissions, favouring a circular economy including supporting a dynamic bioeconomy, efficient waste management, making best use of essential raw materials or finding substitutes, and helping our urban areas to be better places to live. And all the time ensuring that these efforts are supported by SusChem’s enabling technologies that fall in three main categories in the Chemical Industry: advanced materials, digital and process.
Within these SusChem is currently focusing on five innovation working priorities: catalysis, information and communication technologies (ICT), materials for energy, a sustainable bioeconomy, and water.
SusChem addresses challenges that are specific to Research and Innovation in the European chemical and industrial biotechnology industries. It favours a value-chain approach fully coordinated with other industry sectors and European Technology Platforms (ETPs) and focused on addressing the societal challenges expressed through the European Union’s Innovation Union and in Horizon2020.
What is Sustainable Chemistry?
Sustainable chemistry … seeks to improve the efficiency with which natural resources are used to meet human needs for chemical products and services. Sustainable chemistry encompasses the design, manufacture and use of efficient, effective, safe and more environmentally benign chemical products and processes. Sustainable chemistry … stimulates innovation across all sectors to design and discover new chemicals, production processes, and product stewardship practices that will provide increased performance and increased value while meeting the goals of protecting and enhancing human health and the environment.The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
Essentially, sustainable chemistry is about doing more with less: reducing the environmental impact of processes and products, optimising the use of finite resources and minimising waste.
Sustainable chemistry can ensure optimum eco-efficiency in everything we do, both individually and as a society. Sustainable chemistry also means protecting and extending employment, expertise and quality of life. It provides a sustainable basis for the innovation needed to stimulate a competitive, knowledge-based, enterprise-led economy across Europe.
But the solutions provided by sustainable chemistry must also be acceptable to society: they must be trusted and relevant to society’s requirements and they must be economically sustainable too.
In practice, this means that SusChem projects and programmes must address clear societal needs, be environmentally sound and economically viable.
Sustainability and competitiveness are strategic priorities for SusChem and they tie in with environmental protection. Chemical products and chemistry-driven technological advances can support the sustainable development of society.
The chemical industry is a critical actor of almost all value chains and supplies products to all sectors of the economy; therefore it must be at the forefront of the transition to a more sustainable, low-carbon economy.