Green chemistry for a circular economy and a sustainable future

On November 2, 2023, organized by the Center for Cleaner Production of the Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, University of Belgrade, the event “Green Chemistry for circular economy and sustainable future” was held. This event brought together experts in the fields of environmental protection, innovation, economics, economy and science to discuss key issues related to the application of green chemistry and sustainable chemical processes in achieving the circular economy. The event is part of the activities of the UNIDO/GEF project “Global Green Chemistry and Innovation Program” led by Yale University (USA).

During the opening, Dr. Branko Dunjić, Director of the Center for Cleaner Production, pointed out that green chemistry is key to reducing the impact of industry on the environment, as well as for creating innovative products and processes that support the circular economy. He also presented the components of the project:

  1. Creating an interconnected global online tool for green chemistry;
  2. Performing green chemistry accelerator programs in different countries, focusing on participants: Jordan, Indonesia, Peru, Serbia, Uganda and Ukraine;
  3. Developing and supporting projects to reduce persistent organic pollutants (POP) or mercury in industry.

Project coordinator Dr Jelena Milić emphasized the strategic importance of green chemistry in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially the goals related to the availability of food, sanitary water, medicines and health care, as well as accessible education, decent work and partnerships among countries and organizations. Through the video link, the participants were also addressed by Prof. Paul Anastas, Director of the Center for Green Chemistry of Yale University (USA) and Dr. Predrag Petrović, Senior Research Associate of the Center for Green Chemistry of Yale University (USA).

The program of the conference contained two sessions “Green Chemistry and regulatory framework: Opportunities and Challenges” and “Green Chemistry as a Support to the Economy towards Sustainable Development – Examples of Good Practice”. The first session discussed the principles of green chemistry and the regulatory framework as a powerful mechanism for driving innovation. After that, in the afternoon session, representatives of companies and science presented their innovations and good practices in the application of the principles of green chemistry.

The event was followed by over 80 participants live or via video link, including representatives of the state sector, companies, researchers and the civil sector.

The discussions focused on the importance of green chemistry as the basis of resource efficiency and the importance of innovation in the chemical industry to create products that are less harmful to the environment and human health. The participants agreed that it is necessary to continue working on promoting green chemical practices and innovation in order to create a world where natural resources are preserved and valued, and the environment is protected for future generations.