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Innovation for achieving the Chemical related SDGs


Innovation for achieving the Chemical related SDGs

The Secretariat of the Strategic Approach to Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) have launched a Community of Practice (CoP) on Chemicals and SDGs to bring representatives from different sectors together and to create a learning network around issues related to addressing Chemicals and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is a summary of the discussion on Innovation for achieving the Chemical related SDGs, which took place on 26 October 2021.

Presenters: Dr. Claudio Cinquemani (ISC3), Dr. Thomas Homburg (ISC3)

Sustainable development depends on the scaling up of innovation in the chemical sector for intelligent, environmentally benign solutions and production processes to be developed. While chemicals are needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), chemical pollution remains a threat to human health, ecosystems, and wildlife. It is necessary that we re-think how chemicals are designed, produced, used, circulated, and disposed of in a way that the SDGs are met in every dimension. Entrepreneurship can be a strong driver in this transition and can help to close the gaps between science, innovation, and business. While the information technology (IT) sector is a prominent example of a thriving start-up scene, the innovation ecosystem in Sustainable Chemistry is less developed, making it challenging for innovators to forge ahead with commercialization. The specific challenges in Sustainable Chemistry entrepreneurship are manifold, from the difficult transfer from science to business, missing industry guidance, collaboration, the lack of access to lab infrastructure and the challenge of finding tailored financing and support. Building up a global innovation environment for Sustainable Chemistry is an important task to not only promote entrepreneurship and creativity but also to shed light on the role of Sustainable Chemistry as a key solution provider for our future. The focus of this CoPs discussion was on the three areas and sectors of innovation that can contribute to achieving chemicals related SDGs while at the same time contributing to ecological, societal, and economic levels.