Integrating sustainability into learning in chemistry: An Editorial on this topic was published in the Journal of Chemical Education, related to the 2021 Earth Day theme of “Restore Our Earth”. Co-authors included Stephen Matlin, a member of IOCD’s group Chemists for Sustainability (C4S), as well as others who have collaborated with C4S. The Editorial highlights how the interdisciplinary work of integrating sustainability into chemistry education can be guided by systems thinking, and by the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Planetary Boundaries frameworks.
Robert Maybury (1923-2021): It is with great sadness that IOCD received the news of the
death on 12 April 2021 of Robert Maybury, who served as Executive Director of IOCD from 1988 to
2008. The President, Jean-Marie-Lehn, and current Executive Director of IOCD, Federico Rosei, have
expressed their deep sorrow and paid tribute to Robert Maybury's outstanding contributions to
furthering the work of the organization over a period of two decades.
Federico Rosei takes up appointment as Executive Director of IOCD:
IOCD's new Executive Director, Prof. Federico Rosei took up his appointment on 1 January 2021,
succeeding Prof. Alain Krief who had been Executive Director since 2009. Prof. Rosei holds the
Canada Research Chair in Nanostructured Materials at the Centre for Energy, Materials and
Telecommunications, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université du
Québec, Canada. His contributions to science research and education have been recognised by
a number of awards, including a UNESCO Chair in Materials and Technologies for Energy Conversion,
the World Cultural Council's 2014 Jose Vasconcelos Award of Education and the American Physical
Society's 2019 John Wheatley Award. Professor Rosei said he is delighted and honoured at being
appointed as Executive Director and is greatly looking forward to working with the members of IOCD
to continue and further develop the organization's role in promoting the chemical sciences for
sustainable development. He noted that the chemical sciences will be central to meeting the great
challenges that the world faces in the 21stCentury.
Material circularity and the role of the chemical sciences as a key enabler of a sustainable
post-trash age: A paper just published by the core group of IOCD's Chemists for
Sustainability, in collaboration with Klaus Kümmerer and Lisa Keßler at Leuphana
University in Germany, discusses the role of the chemical sciences in sustainability and illustrates
the use of the Systems-Oriented Concept Map Extension (SOCME) tool in three case studies that
explore the sustainability of production, use and disposal of aluminium, plastics and textiles.
Working for Sustainable Development
The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals: At a high-level meeting of governments at the UN in
New York on 25 September 2015, the Millennium Development Goals which have guided international
efforts to address the problems of poorer countries since 2000 were succeeded by new Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. The SDGs embrace a global vision of development for
all and with responsibility shared by all countries.
IOCD's organizational strategy for 2020-2021 focuses promoting the chemical sciences for development and especially for global sustainability
. For details, click here.
Chemistry and the SDGs: Chemistry's contribution is essential to meeting most, if not all, of
the SDGs. Importantly, many of these contributions require that chemistry works in close concert
with other disciplines to identify solutions that are practical, affordable and sustainable. IOCD
is committed to working in partnership with others to ensure that chemistry fulfils its potential of
contributing to sustainable development.
IOCD has formed an action group — ‘Chemists for Sustainability’ —
focusing on the roles of chemistry in sustainable development. The group has published over a dozen
articles on aspects of the role and future of the chemical sciences.
The 2020s is a critical decade for sustainability. Intensified efforts will be needed in the
decade now begun to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals — 17 Goals and 169 targets
associated with the UN's Agenda 2030. At the same time, a widening set of planetary environmental
crises and emergencies is unfolding that urgently need attention — amidst warnings that
actions taken in this decade are likely to impact on the state of the planet's environment for
thousands of years to come.
Meetings, Conferences and Special Events
Despite many international conferences and meetings scheduled during 2020-21 being
cancelled or postponed, IOCD’s work has continued and has made extensive use of
videoconferencing, including during the twice-yearly meetings of its General Assembly.
Virtual workshops of the IOCD group Chemists for Sustainability (C4S) were held and
members of the C4S group participated in a number of national and international events,
including giving lectures in India and Germany and contributing to several collaborative
IOCD Working Groups and Projects
Chemists for Sustainability (C4S)
IOCD action group C4S was formed 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
sustainable development. The core group, which includes Alain Krief, Henning Hopf,
Stephen Matlin and Goverdhan Mehta as core members, has served advocacy and think-tank
roles through written articles, lectures at various fora and web materials.
Among its contributions, the C4S group has developed the concept of ‘one-world’
chemistry as a new orientation for the discipline.
Systems Thinking in Chemistry
The C4S group has emphasised the importance of incorporating systems thinking into
chemistry. In 2017-2019, IOCD collaborated with IUPAC in a global project to infuse systems
thinking in chemistry education (STICE), co-led by Peter Mahaffy and Stephen Matlin. They
are now, along with others, heading a new IUPAC project, Systems Thinking in Chemistry for
Sustainability: Toward 2030 and Beyond (STCS 2030+), in 2020-202
IOCD and Partners
IOCD engages in strategic collaborations with a range of other organizations that share similar
goals in furthering the role of the chemical sciences. Current examples include:
African Academy of Sciences — AAS
International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry — IUPAC
For a complete list of IOCD Perspectives, which are all available to download free, click
International Organization for Chemical Sciences in Development
Executive Director: Prof. Federico Rosei
Centre for Energy, Materials and Telecommunications
Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique
Université du Québec, Canada
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