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UNIDO and partners launch new GEF-funded global Green Chemistry initiative

March 15, 2017

Green Chemistry reduces pollution at its source by minimizing or eliminating the hazards of chemical feedstock, reagents, solvents and products.
Green Chemistry reduces pollution at its source by minimizing or eliminating the hazards of chemical feedstock, reagents, solvents and products.

In an effort to spread the word about Green Chemistry, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and partners, with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), have launched a global multi-stakeholder initiative to increase global awareness and to deploy Green Chemistry approaches and technologies.

“The GEF is pleased to fund this first global public-private initiative that will help bridge the gap between science and real-world application of Green Chemistry approaches,” said Evelyn Swain, Environmental Specialist at the GEF. “This is an important year for our work in the Chemicals and Waste area, and we hope the upcoming BRS COPs will be a chance to further strengthen our collaborations with partners such as the private sector.”

Many national governments have enacted laws and established institutional structures with a view to reducing the amount of chemicals used and many companies have started to adopt sound chemical management programmes in order to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals throughout the industrial life-cycle. However, the increasing variety and complexity of chemicals expose serious gaps in government and international policies and corporate practices.

Green Chemistry focuses on the inherent nature/properties of chemicals, materials, products, processes, or systems and as such is trans-disciplinary in nature, encompassing elements of chemistry, engineering, biology, toxicology and environmental science. Green Chemistry reduces pollution at its source by minimizing or eliminating the hazards of chemical feedstock, reagents, solvents and products; or encouraging the invention and innovation of new and non-hazardous solvents, surfactants, materials, processes and products.

Yale University's Paul Anastas delivering a keynote speech.

The UNIDO Green Chemistry initiative brings together a large research consortium led by the Centre for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale University, the German Federal Environmental Foundation, and Braskem, the largest thermoplastic resins producer in the Americas, as well as several National Cleaner Production Centres (NCPCs) from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. The three-year project is funded by the Global Environment Facility. 

The project launch, organized jointly by UNIDO and the SENAI-FIRJAN Green Chemistry Institute Brazil, was attended by more than 150 participants from industry, science, policy and other professional backgrounds. The many facets of Green Chemistry were presented in different formats, including a keynote speech by world leading expert, Yale University's Paul Anastas, who is co-founder of the Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry. The event featured four start-up pitches by Brazilian Green Chemistry entrepreneurs, as well as presentations by experts from Brazil, Egypt, Peru, Serbia, South Africa and Sri Lanka on the status quo and potential of Green Chemistry in their countries.

This project is the first GEF-funded global initiative on Green Chemistry. UNIDO is a pioneer in this area and their initiatives on Green Chemistry aim to address the challenges posed by hazardous chemicals through holistic, wide-ranging actions and the preventive design and management of chemicals and waste.

Read the original press release from UNIDO here