In the developed world, it is recognised that only 7% of production materials used in a process end up in the final product and that 80% of products are discarded after a single use. It is essential, therefore, that we seek to reduce material resources and ensure that any materials released to the environment are not toxic, harmful or persistent. Moreover, some of the world’s greatest challenges including climate change, energy supply and demand, safe water and affordable medicines, require new chemical technologies to address them.
Innovations in chemistry can bring about advances in sustainability through technology based interventions, changing products and their manufacture, and eliminating product waste streams. However, this requires new business models and a clear focus on full product lifecycle i.e. sustainable design.
The opportunities and potential benefits are highly attractive.
It is estimated that half of the products needed in the next 10–15 years have not yet been invented!
Key Challenges are:
• Industry understanding of sustainable design and the value to business
• Wider recognition of the importance of chemistry in sustainable innovation
• Clear communication of life-cycle understanding up and down the supply chain using common tools