The Chair’s Welcome

In times when the progress of technology and industrial developments are extremely fast, the Earth's population and demand for resources is increasing, green and sustainable chemistry is needed more than ever. Products of chemical industries e.g. petrochemicals, polymers and plastics, agrochemicals (pesticides, fertilizers), detergents, cleaning agents and personal care products, durable construction materials and effective pharmaceuticals are a basis of the high living standard and ever-increasing life expectancy. Chemical products are present in almost all aspects of human life. Therefore, the chemical science and chemical industry are of utmost importance and have a crucial impact on future developments. Surprisingly, not only is industrial waste, i.e. untreated and unwanted waste water or emissions into the air, the main pollutant of the chemical industry but, in many countries, the products themselves are! In some countries products of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries – such as micro pollutants, macro and micro plastics, electronic waste – to mention just a few - create by far the most important emissions into the environment.

Chemists in academia, industries and authorities currently face an extremely difficult challenge: to shape the transformation of the chemical and pharmaceutical industry - including their products. Green and sustainable chemistry offers promising approaches that are indispensable in this process. Green chemistry is focused on chemical products and processes. Sustainability begins with the function needed, seeks for non-chemical alternatives and includes circular economy, life-cycles of products, materials and substance flows and connected energy flows, green chemistry, as well as social, ecological, and economic development and ethics. Education plays an eminent role there too.

The annual Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference - now in its 4th edition - addresses again a broad range of green and sustainability topics linked to chemistry and pharmacy in its well-established unique interdisciplinary manner. Participants of the conference are passionate scientists and professionals from all over the world interested in chemistry and pharmacy and their links to sustainability. It is great networking opportunity. Exchange of knowledge and expertise in the field of green and sustainable chemistry and beyond in such a large, international group is a source of inspiration and yet another step towards a green and sustainable world.

A unique aspect of the Green and Sustainable Conference is the Elsevier Foundation's Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge. This challenge aims to inspire new ideas and a significant contribution to sustainability brought forward by chemistry. The challenge seeks proposals related to green and sustainable chemistry that can be directly applied to and in the developing world. Submitted proposals can address the area of waste reduction, use of safer chemicals, energy efficiency, use of renewable feedstock, biocatalysis, education and any other subject related to green and sustainable chemistry. It is important that the proposals are applicable and scalable for direct use in developing countries. Proposals will be reviewed by an international board of scientific experts and five finalists will be invited to the Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference to present their proposals to a panel of judges and to the audience. The winner will receive a significant money award for project implementation.

I look forward to meeting with you in beautiful Dresden next May.

Yours sincerely,

Klaus Kümmerer
Director of the Institute for Sustainable and Environmental Chemistry
Leuphana University Lüneburg,
Germany