What is it about?

The chemical industry needs to undergo several changes in the near future to contribute to sustainable development and play its part in fighting climate change. Since young chemists are going to be the bearers of this change, their opinions on this transformation, as well as their preparedness, expectations, and plans for it need to be understood. To this end, authors of a 2021 study asked young chemists around the world to anonymously fill up a questionnaire on their views regarding how they perceived the chemical industry and its role in future sustainable development. The chemists were further questioned about their own education and how appropriate it was with respect to relevant standards. Economic and social perspectives were included as well. They found that the students were aware of the huge role that they could potentially play in limiting climate change if they worked in con-junction with authorities and social bodies and had several ideas on how to do so. These included, among others, imbibing a strong commitment towards sustainable development goals, moving from linear processes to circular models of operation that utilized resources more efficiently, co-operation with other sectors and society, utilizing sustainable and biodegradable materials wherever possible, and increasing energy efficiency. Respondents also highlighted the need for teaching relevant sustainable ethical principles as part of the syllabus for chemists, as well as focusing on and encouraging the study of green and sustainable chemistry.

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Why is it important?

The chemical industry can play a key role in fighting climate change. However, the younger generation of chemists is often underrepresented in dialogue with authorities on this matter. This study brought to light the novel ideas the youth can provide, and how their participation in sustainable development could be fruitful. KEY TAKEAWAY: It is necessary to include professionals from different sectors and age groups in the dialogue for sustainable development and transformation. This provides a variety of insights and could be very useful for progress.

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This page is a summary of: An overview of young chemists’ expectations towards the sustainable development of the chemical sector. Opinions that matter, Pure and Applied Chemistry, September 2021, De Gruyter, DOI: 10.1515/pac-2021-0602.
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