We are proud of a new project supporting the German Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) in the field of Sustainable Chemistry. This project is a future-oriented contribution to the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste (SMCW), by developing a set of indicators to measure progress towards a more sustainable chemistry and chemicals management. The purpose of these indicators is to enable reviewing progress of the targets that are currently developed and discussed in the Intersessional Process of SAICM and SMCW beyond 2020.

The ambitions to improve the overall sustainability of the design, production, use, and disposal of chemicals is of paramount importance, as almost all human systems are affected by the positive but also the negative impacts of chemicals. This project will focus on the environmental, economic, social, health, agricultural and labour aspects of managing chemicals and waste, in order to foster sustainable development and circularity.

Within the concept of sustainable chemistry, chemicals are tools to reach important societal goals, clearly addressing the trade-offs of the SDGs and the finding of the most sustainable solution for conflicts of interest e.g.

  • not simply more Nitrogen and Phosphate to increase crop yields, but tailored fertilizers, precisely applied, that do not endanger soil organisms or ground water
  • not just insulation foams with flame retardants to save energy for heating and cooling, but appropriate housing concepts preferably based on regional resources which are cost-effective, climate-friendly and can be dismantled and recycled easily
  • switching from virgin fossil feedstock for chemical production to the valorisation of secondary materials such as plastic waste, food waste, organic residues and carbon dioxide,
  • not only replacement of hazardous substances by other compounds, which often exhibit similar chemical structures, but development of “benign by design” chemicals promising non-regrettable substitution.

To measure its effectiveness, we are aiming at adequate indicators for future SMCW that can be determined with as little additional effort as possible.

We manage this project in co-operation with CSCP and our colleagues from BZL and ADO with whom we have successfully completed many other projects.

Progress reports will be published by the Umweltbundesamt. Please check also the homepage of the Umweltbundesamt for further information about SAICM and the German and European activities to come to sound management of chemicals and waste using Sustainable Chemistry as an enabler.