Chemists for Sustainability: A group promoting the chemical sciences for
Sustainable development is one of the overarching global challenges of the 21st century.
In 2015, governments agreed at the United Nations on a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs) to be achieved by 2030.
Chemists for Sustainability (C4S) was formed as an Action Group in 2014 by an international
group of chemists who believe that chemistry and related sciences have indispensable roles to
play in helping the world to achieve the SDGs. There are currently four core members in the
group, with others co-opted as required to bring additional perspectives to the work. The core group
comprises Henning Hopf, Alain Krief, Stephen Matlin and Goverdhan Mehta.
The group has served advocacy and think-tank roles through written articles, lectures at various
fora and web materials. It holds brainstorming meets about twice a year alternately in India and
Europe, interacting in between by teleconference and email, to maintain a high momentum and deliver
topical products via diverse international platforms.
The following is an overview of C4S products.
Championing chemistry; advancing science
group discusses the need for new champions of chemistry to step forward to help drive
the reforms that are need in the discipline.
- S.A. Matlin, G. Mehta, H. Hopf, A. Krief. Championing
chemistry. Chemical and Engineering News 2017, 95(6) 20-21.
In the ‘post-truth’ era, the C4S
group emphasises the importance of chemists and
other scientists vigorously promoting ‘scientific temper’ (the adoption of the culture
of science, in and beyond the field itself, as a way of life that rejects anti-science thinking)
- S.A. Matlin, H. Hopf, A. Krief G. Mehta. Why
Scientists Are Marching. Project Syndicate 17 April 2017.
- Krief, H. Hopf, G. Mehta, S.A. Matlin. Science in the post-truth
era. Current Science 2017, 112, 2173-2174.
- H. Hopf, A. Krief, G. Mehta, S.A. Matlin. Die Welt des
Postfaktischen – ein Widerwort aus der Wissenschaft. Nachrichten aus der
Chemie. 2017, 65, 659-661.
Chemistry has made central contributions to improving health, wellbeing and life expectancy
– but even more is needed now. The C4S
group identifies a number of disconnections
that are preventing the optimal contributions
that can be made and suggests systemic approaches
to developing solutions.
group analyses the system of scientific publishing, with emphasis on a perspective
from the chemical sciences, and identifies a deep crisis that is unfolding, driven by the
conjunction of sub-systems that connect the primary purpose of scientific advancement with financial
and reputational rewards. It argues that piecemeal solutions are unlikely to be effective or
sustainable and the time is ripe for the stakeholders in science publishing to seek new, systemic
approaches that comprehensively address the fundamental flaws. The outlines of an action plan for
the science community to generate such a process are suggested.
Promoting the chemical sciences and IOCD's role
A review written for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry by IOCD scientists Stephen Matlin and
(Ethiopia) highlights achievements of the chemical sciences during more than
two centuries of advancing knowledge and creating useful processes and products. The C4S
group presents insights from notable chemists of the past, which have stood the test of time and
resonate with contemporary contexts beyond the science discipline itself; and overviews the work of
C4S to promote IOCD and its role. The group reflects on the significance of the International Year
of the Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements.
- S.A. Matlin, B.M. Abegaz. Chemistry for
Development. In: J. Garcia-Martinez, E. Serrano-Torregrosa (eds), The Chemical
Element: Chemistry's Contribution to Our Global Future, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2011,
Chapter 1, 1-70.
- A. Krief, H. Hopf, G. Mehta, S.A. Matlin. Repositionnement des sciences
chimiques en vue de créer un avenir durable. Chimie Nouvelle 2018, 127,
- S.A. Matlin, H. Hopf, G. Mehta, A. Krief. Repositioning the chemical sciences for a
sustainable future. Chimie Nouvelle 2018, in press.
- H. Hopf, A. Krief, G. Mehta, S. A. Matlin. The chemical sciences and sustainability.
(In German). Nachrichten aus der Chemie 2018, in press.
The chemical sciences and equality, diversity and inclusion
In collaboration with Vivian Yam
(Hong Kong University, China), the C4S
discusses the challenge of dealing with conscious or unconscious forms of bias and discrimination
in the sciences
and argues that the chemical sciences can play a leading role in addressing
biases, through (1) becoming a model of good systemic practice
in policies, processes and
actions; (2) developing practical skills through training in cultural competence
; and (3)
promoting a stronger evidence base
, to uncover both the extent of problems and the degree to
which approaches to improve equality, diversity and inclusion are working.
- S. A. Matlin, V. W. W. Yam, H. Hopf, A. Krief, G. Mehta.
Science's Gender-Parity Problem. Posted online by Project Syndicate, 9
February 2018: this article was syndicated in newspapers around the world.
- G. Mehta, V. W. W. Yam, A. Krief, H. Hopf, S.A. Matlin.
sciences and equality, diversity and inclusion. Angew Chem Internat Edn 2018,
first published online 6 August 2018, https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.201802038.