Sustainable Chemistry (SC) is the part of chemistry which is essential to a sustainable society with a view to product design, manufacturing, consumption of resources, health and safety at work, economic success and technical innovation – not only in industrialized nations but in emerging and developing countries too. SC thus extends far beyond the application of ecological principles in chemical production.
Sustainable Chemistry focuses on:
- Qualitative development: Use of non-hazardous substances or – in cases where this is not possible – of substances which are less hazardous for man and environment as well as resource-friendly manufacture of durable and recyclable products.
- Quantitative development: Reduction of consumption of resources; use as far as possible of renewable resources; avoidance of emissions or discharges of chemicals or hazardous substances into the environment or – where this is not possible – corresponding reduction; these measures additionally help to save costs.
- Comprehensive life cycle assessment: Analysis of raw material extraction, manufacture, further processing, use and disposal of chemicals and products in order to lower resource and energy consumption and avoid hazardous substances.
- Action and not reaction: Avoid in advance that chemicals endanger the environment and human health during their life cycle and overburden the environment as source and sink; avoidance of damage costs and thus of economic risk for enterprises and clean-up costs for the state.
- Business innovation: Chemicals, products and manufacturing methods developed in line with the requirements of sustainability create trust amongst industrial users and private consumers and thus lever a competitive advantage.