The chemical industry has a responsibility to adopt the tenets of green chemistry — a framework designed to reduce the quantities of chemicals that have a negative impact on human health and the environment.
The chemical industry is the largest industrial energy consumer and third largest emitter of carbon dioxide (1). While that may not affect profitability in the short-term — e.g., in 2019, the chemical industry reached a record $3.94 trillion in revenue worldwide — a dearth of green solutions could eventually impact the sector’s credibility, value, and growth.
These concerns have been attracting attention from consumers and investors alike, particularly as the decline of raw materials (2) leads to ongoing supply shortages and higher industry costs, and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors gain traction. The chemical industry has yet to widely adopt sustainable ways of transforming raw materials into products, nor has it turned to alternative energy sources in the face of natural resource depletion. That’s why the shift to sustainable practices isn’t just a moral obligation: it’s a crucial step toward securing the industry’s future.
The solution lies in chemistry itself. A new focus on green chemistry — which aims to reduce the quantities of chemicals that negatively affect both humans and the environment — is allowing industry players to develop cleaner practices and products. This article discusses the progress being made in green chemistry, as well as the challenges that must be overcome to achieve widespread and universal implementation of these practices...
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