Team Sustainability

Sustainable development is a timely topic with high societal relevance and chemistry plays an essential part in it. JCFs "Team Sustainability" deals with the fundamental question: "What can we as young chemists do to create a more sustainable future and how can we inspire others to act?". The team has already discussed a lot of ideas and initiated projects for the cause and we are always looking for more creative ideas. We welcome new, motivated team members who want to take part in the realization of these ideas. Our current projects include a sustainability guideline, a survey to evaluate the adequacy of sustainability in education and a white paper that represents the opinions of young chemists on the matter in the context of the UN SDGs.

 
 

On the 28th of January, the EYCN hosted a panel discussion on "Sustainability in  Education - Empowering Chemists to Act" in collaboration with IYCN and JCF. The discussion is now available online and reflects on the results of the joint survey on "Sustainability in Chemical Education". The dialogue as well as the presentations of the panelists leave all particapants, no matter which background, with plenty of resources to take it in to their own hands to make a change in education at university level for a more sustainable future. Certainly worth a watch if you are looking for ways to drive change and be inspired! 

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3xOHEPMi5E

 
 

On February 18th 2021 Emiel Dobbelaar presented the results of JCFs Sustainability Team at the launch event of the "Chemicals & Waste" group of the United Nations Environment Program Major Group for Children and Youth (UNEP MGCY). The online event was organized as a 90 minute Session within the Youth Environment Assembly (YEA) as part of the 5th United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA). It was an inspiring session with lots of highly engaged individuals speaking up about how they want to help make chemistry and the world more sustainable and enhance the dialogue between politics and science. More details about the event and YEA can be found here: https://enb.iisd.org/events/youth-environment-assembly-yea/highlights-and-images-main-proceedings-18-february-2021

 

Download: Presentation Emiel Dobbelaar

UNEP report to Youth Environment Assembly: https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/young-people-call-urgent-climate-action-un-environment-assembly

In 2020 we conducted a global survey to gather opinions of young chemists on "Sustainability in Education". Our goal was to see whether the current state of education in chemistry prepares young chemists to meet the challenge of their generation: The global demand for sustainable development. The outcome is a snapshot that shows that the education systems need to evolve to the demands of our time and that we need to rethink how and what we teach if we want young professionals to have the necessary skills and tools to find the best solutions for a sustainable future.

Disclaimer: All questions were posed via an open access google form and shared via the networks of JungChemikerForum (JCF), International Younger Chemists Network (IYCN) and European Young Chemists’ Network (EYCN). Responses were gathered anonymously. The number of participants was checked at least once a week, no irregularities were observed. 503 answers were gained over the course of 2 months (18.05.2020 – 20.07.2020), roughly half of them from Germany. For the workup and comparison, the German questions were translated and the results were viewed separately. The replies are merely a snapshot of opinions of young chemists across the world, they are not to be taken out of context or viewed as scientific results. It is important to take into account that countries of the global north, especially Europe, as well as people that have an interest in the matter (who were probably more willing to take part) are overrepresented in this survey. Nevertheless the results present valuable information on the current state of education on the topic of sustainability and should be considered when rethinking future education.

Download: Rawdata (.csv)

 

Statistics

We had around 500 participants across the globe, roughly half of which represent Germany. The international respondents mostly represent Europe. It is important to keep in mind who participated to accurately interpret the results when viewing any of the following charts.

Question 1

The average grade for the adequacy of what is taught on sustainabile chemistry appears to be sufficient on global average but some countries like Germany fall far behind. However whether what is taught is enough is a different story as can be seen in question 3.

Question 2

Our results indicate, that the current education system fails to prepare a major portion of young researchers for the challenges they will face in industry in the next decades.

 

 

Question 3

The results of this question are the most one-sided: Basically ALL young chemists demand an education that features more sustainable chemistry. It is important to them that they are well prepared to face the challenges of the future and demand a change in the way we teach chemistry.

Question 4

When asking the participants if they consider the sustainability strategy of a company as a relevant factor for carreer choice, an overwhelming amount of participants said yes. This may be of special interest to industry as it clearly shows that an honest commitment to sustainable development is necessary to attract young talents. Even more so, they want to contribute to the cause and can bring a company forward.

What does sustainability mean for young chemists and how can one make ones actions sustainable? These are the questions that the JCF Team Sustainability followed up on in the months of April through October 2020. The result: A general guideline for young chemists. 

The guideline is meant to highlight easy ways to promote sustainability and act sustainably for all young chemists’ networks. For clarity, it was divided into the categories of advertising, events and communication. Key aspects are general environmental awareness, reducing waste, paying attention to carbon neutrality, and spreading the word beyond young chemists’ networks. 

After a unique campaign to acquire support from young chemist networks across the globe, JCF is happy to announce that the guideline has found international interest and endorsement. Current supporters include: Jungchemiker (Austria), YoungSCS (Switserland), RJ-SCF (France), JP-SBQ (Brazil), GQJ (Portugal) as well as the European Young Chemists Network (EYCN) and the International Younger Chemists Network (IYCN). The latter two have amplified the search for translations and are continuing to play the major part in this, helping to increase the reach of the guideline. More translations are already in the making - so keep your eyes open for more languages and collaborations to come! 

We owe big gratitude to all supporters and are happy to see the international young chemists community come together to stand united in the mission for sustainable development.

 

English Version

Communicate and share! 

Team Sustainability

Members

Alena Neudert


 

Hannah Kortman


 

Carsten Dingler

 

Emiel Dobbelaar

 

 

Alexander Haag

 

Walburga Bischofberger

 

Maximilian Menche

 

Chris Heintz