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Press release

Winning chemistry projects offer climate change solutions

Amsterdam | May 25, 2023

Elsevier Foundation Chemistry for Climate Action supports solutions-focused research; winners focus on plastic pollution, renewable energy and gender equity

The Elsevier Foundation Chemistry for Climate Action Challenge today names two winning projects which identify innovative, concrete and scalable climate action solutions. Selected from a shortlist of five projects, the winners each receive a EUR $25,000 cash prize and tackle plastic pollution and renewable energy, with a focus on gender equity. The two prizes have been won by Maria Wilvenna Añora, Co-Founder of the social enterprise AtoANIopens in new tab/window, and by Mohamedweli Mohamed, Program Manager at the Somali Social Entrepreneurs Fundopens in new tab/window. The five finalistsopens in new tab/window were selected from 98 entrants across 47 countries and pitched their solutions at the 7th Green & Sustainable Chemistry Conference in Dresden on 23 May to a jury of scientific experts.

The Elsevier Foundation Chemistry for Climate Action Challenge is a collaboration between the Elsevier Foundationopens in new tab/window, a non profit funded by Elsevier, and Elsevier's flagship chemistry journalsopens in new tab/window. The Challenge represents a commitment from Elsevier to uncover practical, scalable solutions to specific issues caused by climate change, in the Global South communities where the issues are directly experienced. In addition to the cash award, the winners also benefit from having their project published in an Elsevier sustainable chemistry journal such as Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable ChemistrySustainable Chemistry and Pharmacy, and Materials Today Sustainability and Sustainable Chemistry for Climate Action. All shortlisted finalists have also received a one-year subscription to Reaxysopens in new tab/window, Elsevier's premier chemistry and cheminformatics database.

Rob van Daalen, Senior Publisher for Sustainable Chemistry at Elsevier, said, Sometimes I have mixed feelings about the Challenge. It's sad to see that much effort is going into trying to solve the mess that we have made of our planet. But on the other hand, it makes one optimistic, and it's fantastic to see that so many young scientists are so motivated to contribute positively to the problems related to the climate crisis and the environment. The two winners this year are a good example of that and their projects will have very positive impact on their local communities.”

"It's crucial that we support green and sustainable chemistry solutions to climate change," Ylann Schemm, Executive Director of the Elsevier Foundation explained, "and that we make sure that a gender dimension is embedded in the approach and research, given that women are disproportionately affected by climate change. We are proud to be a part of identifying genuine solutions to this huge challenge and generating opportunities for change."

One prize-winning project looks at reducing the number of single-use sachets consumed and thrown away in the Philippines, which is around 163 million pieces a day. The project will produce biodegradable packaging products using agro-industrial waste as raw materials, as an alternative to plastic - and will support farming communities by providing them with an additional source of income from the agro-industrial waste. The project lead, Maria Wilvenna Añora, said.

The second winner's project focuses on producing methane gas from fruit waste and cow manure - as a cheaper and cleaner alternative to charcoal from burned-down trees, which is used by 90% of the population in Somalia. The project will engage female-headed households to establish a biogas system and vegetable farms, aiming to promote inclusive economic development. Its lead, Mohamedweli Mohamed, said.

The Challenge also supports SDG5, Gender Equalityopens in new tab/window, recognizing the pivotal role that women play in combating climate change. Projects submitted to the Challenge must have integrated a gender dimension (such as addressing the role of women in adapting to climate shifts and participating in policy-making and leadership roles) into their projects.

For further information about the Elsevier Foundation Chemistry for Climate Action Challenge, visit the Elsevier Foundation websiteopens in new tab/window.


Notes for editors

More information about the winning and shortlisted projects and the teams behind them is available on request.

About Elsevier Foundation

The Elsevier Foundationopens in new tab/window is a corporate not-for-profit 501(c)(3), funded by Elsevier, a global information analytics business specialized in science and health. Since 2006, the Elsevier Foundation provides over $1.5 million USD a year in grants to knowledge-centered institutions around the world, which address the UN Sustainable Development Goals through tech-enabled innovations in inclusive health and research. The Foundation offers a comprehensive matching gift and volunteering fund to enable employees to work with Foundation partners and support their communities. The Elsevier Foundation is part of Elsevier's larger corporate responsibility program which centers on our unique contributions to sustainable development in gender, health, climate and reducing inequalities. www.elsevierfoundation.orgopens in new tab/window

About Elsevier Chemistry journals

Next to the traditional chemistry journals, Elsevier publishes a Current Opinion journal in Green and Sustainable Chemistry and a series of journals in sustainable chemistry to address current global challenges: Sustainable Chemistry and Pharmacy, Sustainable Chemistry for Climate Action and Sustainable Chemistry for the Environment.

About Elsevier

As a global leader in scientific information and analytics, Elsevier helps researchers and healthcare professionals advance science and improve health outcomes for the benefit of society. We do this by facilitating insights and critical decision-making with innovative solutions based on trusted, evidence-based content and advanced AI-enabled digital technologies.

We have supported the work of our research and healthcare communities for more than 140 years. Our 9,500 employees around the world, including 2,500 technologists, are dedicated to supporting researchers, librarians, academic leaders, funders, governments, R&D-intensive companies, doctors, nurses, future healthcare professionals and educators in their critical work. Our 2,900 scientific journals and iconic reference books include the foremost titles in their fields, including Cell Press, The Lancet and Gray’s Anatomy.

Together with the Elsevier Foundationopens in new tab/window, we work in partnership with the communities we serve to advance inclusion and diversity in science, research and healthcare in developing countries and around the world.

Elsevier is part of RELXopens in new tab/window, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. For more information on our work, digital solutions and content, visit


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Rebecca Clear

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