Green Chemistry Bootcamp: Developing Skills to Create a Sustainable Future

“We can’t achieve a sustainable future just by describing and defining it! We must develop the skills to invent it. This is Green Chemistry”, said John Warner, American chemist, one of the founders of the field of green chemistry, Co-Founder of beyondbenign, at the more recent “Green and Sustainable Chemistry”  bootcamp in Austria.  

Organised by Cefic and the Association of the Austrian Chemical Industry (FCIO), this bootcamp seeks promote a discussion on Green Chemistry among the chemical industry stakeholders.  

According to Warner, more universities are integrating Green Chemistry into their curriculum, but there is still a need for broader education on the topic.  This is central to  promoting the adoption of more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices across various industries, and for providing students with the tools and knowledge necessary to build a sustainable future. 

Evaluating the potential toxicity and environmental consequences at the initial stage of developing chemical products and processes is key in Green Chemistry. “For a technology to make an impact, it must succeed in the market, it must have superior performance and appropriate cost while addressing sustainability issues. The only person who can do this is the designer/inventor,” he explained. 

The Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry, developed by John Warner and Paul T. Anastas in 1998, serve as a framework for designing chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. These principles, applicable across the life cycle of a chemical product, include waste prevention, energy efficiency and safer chemicals and products design.  

The bootcamp covered a range of topics, including managing risk and safety by design, innovation for sustainability solutions, toxicology for chemists, biomimicry and circular economy, and green chemistry and plastics in the environment. It also equipped the participants with skills to address concerns about chemicals impacting human health and the environment. 

The Green and Sustainable Chemistry Bootcamp provided a valuable opportunity for chemists and other professionals to better understand and apply the principles of Green Chemistry, and to explore innovative solutions for a more sustainable future. On top of that, it was a great networking opportunity! 

To stay up-to-date on green chemistry news and future Cefic bootcamp sessions in Europe