Chemistry takes Responsibility
ENVIRONMENT DAY Talks 11 on occasion of the Year of Chemistry, Press information Eco Counselling Austria ("die umweltberatung" Österreich), 8 June 2011
For the third time, the ENVIRONMENT DAY Talks took place at the Vienna International Centre. During the 2011 “International Year of Chemistry” the symposium was being held under the motto “Chemistry takes Responsibility”. Presentations from renowned national and international speakers, discussion forums and business best practise examples pursued the question whether ecology and chemistry are able to work together and constitute a profitable economic symbiosis.
The World Environment Day is being celebrated all around the globe on the 5th of June. More than 100 states join in and organise events, street parties and lectures in order to rise awareness for environment protection. Eco Counselling Austria ("die umweltberatung") has been engaged actively throughout the last years.
Mag.a Magdalena Recheis (Eco Counselling Austria): “Both the ENVIRONMENT DAY Talks ’11 and the Science Buster’s special event were definitely our highlights of the World Environment Day. For those events we chose the ‘International Year of Chemistry’ to be our initiating and guiding theme. The conference was kicked-off by yesterday’s science cabaret which presented spectacular experiments and humoristic infotainment. Today, well-known speakers and scientists gave insight into their practical experiences and addressed current areas of tension between ecology, economy and industry from various perspectives. They also presented examples of how those fields can be merged and interrelated.”
After initial video messages of Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) and EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, Christian Mokricky, Chairman of Eco Counselling Austria and Harald Egerer, Head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Vienna Office passed on the word to top-class scientists from Austria and abroad. Christian Mokricky outlined the “Year of Chemistry” information campaign and activities undertaken by Eco Counselling Austria. Harald Egger welcomed around 200 participants as actual host.
Ecology and Chemistry – A contradiction?
René van Berkel, Chief of the Cleaner and Sustainable Production Unit of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), introduced a programme to promote technological innovation and financial incentive systems. The respective programme is being implemented in 47 countries all over the world in order to reduce polluting emissions, waste and water consumption.
Debbie Raphael, Programme Manager of the San Francisco Department of the Environment, explained the practical implementation of the precautionary principal, with focus on the communal level. Municipalities are often the first being affected by and have to pay the price for environment pollution. She emphasised the power of law concerning precautionary environment protection and the chances and advantages of putting early warning systems, regulatory measures, incentive programmes and information campaigns for businesses and consumers into practice.
Thomas Jakl, Chairman of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), presented the European chemicals registration directive REACH law since june 2007. REACH means Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemical substances with the aim of regulating the market for dangerous chemicals. Chemical Leasing constitutes a relatively new concept which aims at resource efficiency and recycling by decoupling production revenue and economic success while saving resources and material at the same time. It represents an innovative model of circular economy.
Albin Kälin, CEO of EPEA Switzerland GmbH, takes the same line: Cradle to Cradle’s goal is to avoid waste production at a maximum level and to keep resources in endless circulation. Used material is reintegrated into organic circulation or remains in technical cycles in order to optimize its occupancy rate and reduce resource consumption. This enables business models that leave property rights with the producer and thus guarantees the return and reuse of products.
The afternoon’s discussion forums conference attendees participated in lively discussions, including on the issues as to which extend brands and eco labels contribute to the guidance of consumers regarding their purchase decisions and represent trend-setters in production and services.
Sustainable Products – Cash-Cow or Flop?
Andrea Promberger, Lenzing AG, and Johann Zimmermann, NaKu, demonstrate the economic potential of sustainable and resource-efficient products. While the latter company constitutes a Europe-wide role model concerning the manufacturing of renewable synthetic material (e.g. corn flour), Lenzing AG shows how to successfully produce clothing made of cellulose fibres.
The chemical industry carries the burden of high environmental and social responsibility. Creativity, know-how and the spirit of innovation pave the way for successfully implementing those sustainable and at the same time economical prosperous strategies.
ENVIRONMENT DAY Talks ' 11: Chemistry takes Responsibility
7 June 2011, Vienna International Centre
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