A personal message from Barbara Hendricks

Dear Reader,

I am delighted that the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3) has now been established and will commence its work in May. It is very important to my ministry that this institution and its guiding principles contribute to extensive cooperation and pooling of expertise in the field of sustainable chemistry. Indeed, there is a lot to be done: Without the sustainable use of chemicals we will not be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals agreed on last year by the international community. We need chemicals to insulate buildings, treat water and build solar panels.

At the same time, we want to avoid disadvantages and net costs to society, industry and the environment arising from the use of chemicals. We thus need more ambition in our approach to the management of chemicals and we need it now. Sustainable chemistry is the right answer here. It follows the precautionary principle, gives preference, where possible, to safe alternatives over hazardous substances, and promotes innovative processes and recycling strategies. Sustainable chemistry is making us aware of its benefits for the expansion of renewables and for increasing material and energy efficiency. A sustainable chemistry policy could also have positive impacts in other fields, for example, for containing costs in the health sector, combatting climate change or in the transition to circular economy.

By taking on the challenge posed by climate change we have revolutionised power generation, created jobs and economic growth and in the process reduced greenhouse gas emissions. I believe that developing and mainstreaming sustainable chemistry will likewise offer many advantages.

I therefore strongly encourage everyone to participate in ISCnet and actively work together with the ISC3. With your expertise you can contribute to achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda while also making chemistry and the management of chemicals fit for the future.