Sustainable Chemistry & Digitalisation

Transition to Sustainable Chemistry through digitalisation

Achieving the various goals of the global Sustainable Development agenda poses complex challenges for the chemical industry and society as a whole. That is why we organised a workshop on Digital Transformation and Artificial Intelligence. Here a group of experts discussed which trends and tools can be used to transform chemistry and to assess and manage chemicals considering the global sustainable development agenda.

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Industry 4.0, Blockchain, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and quantum computing are buzz words that continue to raise hopes and give impulses to transform industries and economies. ISC3 lead a workshop on Digital Transformation and Artificial Intelligence with the main questions:

  • Do AI and Big Data trigger new processes and business models in sustainable chemistry?
  • How digitalisation and artificial intelligence can contribute to improve chemicals management and promote sustainable innovation

In collaboration with the Cambridge University, the Technical University of Denmark, UN Environment, and Forum startup chemistry at DECHEMA, ISC3 brought together essential experts from academia, policy, industry and entrepreneurs to discuss opportunities and risks that arise from the combination of Sustainable Chemistry and digitalisation.

An article Transition to sustainable chemistry through digitalization was published in Chem, Celpress and a white paper is currently under preparation.
The group of experts discussed during the workshop how trends and tools for transforming chemistry and the assessment and management of chemicals can be used to best align new chemicals with the global sustainable development agenda. What are opportunities and synergies to move toward sustainable chemistries and materials, and what are possible rebound effects and threats?

The workshop was divided into two parts. The first part was dedicated to an overview on the challenges about digital processes adopted by leading experts in the field of chemistry, sustainability and digitalisation in light of the future challenges. The second part focused on how potentials in the field of digitalisation can be tapped in order to make the chemistry more sustainable. The idea of “digital transformation” describes the change, which digitalisation triggers by using digital technologies to create new processes and business models.

Common Challenges, among others, were data gaps on toxicity and degradablilty, regional inequalities of digitalisation development, the need for collaboration and openness of data in order to simplify business. It became clear that a systematic – digital assisted - approach is needed in order to address the increasing complexity of the chemical-product-health nexus.

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Data quality needs to be monitored and regulated if a box of sequential tools shall be available for harnessing digitalisation for sustainable development. Cross-organisational innovation management using platforms has to be daily business if the 12-trillion $ market that is available through the SDG´s shall be tapped.

Following topics were figured out:
  • Digitalisation and Artificial intelligence (A.I.):
  • Challenges & Chances for the chemical industry
  • Prediction (e.g. of reactivity, degradability, toxicity)
  • Sustainability development (incl. assessment)
  • Innovation identification and sharing

Besides the scientific paper in Chem. Cell Press and the white paper a network of experts similar to a community of practise was build. The network includes experts from academia, industry, NGOs and international organisations with the aim to keep on researching and discussing Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence, also in Chemicals Management.