21st July 2020
Key Words: Chemicals; Leasing; Green Chemistry
Source: “Science for Environment Policy”: European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service, edited by SCU, The University of the West of England, Bristol.
News Alert / Issue 546: SCIENCE FOR ENVIRONMENT POLICY
This review, prepared by Zimmerman J. and Anastas P., considers how to maintain and improve the performance of the chemical industry, whilst limiting or eliminating any negative impacts that may threaten the sustainability of both human and planetary wellbeing.
The definition of ‘performance’ must change from function alone to function and sustainability, they say, with chemical design understanding not only molecules’ technical functions, but also the hazards they pose. In shifting the design of materials to incorporate their potential hazards, the focus is on reducing hazard rather than on lowering exposure risk, to avoid the issues of exposure control mechanism failure. This new definition of ‘performance’ directly affects the business model of the chemical sector by also requiring maximum functionality but minimised chemical or material mass. This aligns with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization’s focus on sustainable ‘chemical leasing’, in which the function, and not quantity, of a chemical is sold.
SCIENCE FOR ENVIRONMENT POLICY