Climate change tops chemical engineers’ agenda with Iaunch of IChemE’s position statement

Climate change tops chemical engineers’ agenda with Iaunch of IChemE’s position statement

24th November 2020

Aiming to take a lead role in tackling climate change, the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) has published its position statement with the commitment to work with all stakeholders, from governments to communities around the world, to deliver a fair, safe and sustainable future.

Developed through consultation with members, the Institution’s position is founded on nine key principles including the endorsement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the acknowledgement that to support the aims of the Paris Agreement, net emissions of carbon dioxide must be reduced to zero and action must start now.

Chemical engineers are uniquely placed to take action across industrial sectors to arrest and reverse the damage humans are doing to the life support systems of the planet and to contribute to improving food security, energy and water availability, and human health and wellbeing.

Recognising that the development of new technologies, the use of best available techniques and a systems thinking approach will be critical, IChemE commits to work collaboratively as members, through education, research and sustainable engineering practices, in contributing globally to the transition to a net zero carbon world by 2050.

In support of the nine principles, the position statement includes a series of commitments for IChemE members, IChemE operations and for the industries in which members work. Alongside the commitments for members, the Institution commits to develop plans for achieving net zero carbon emissions from its own direct operations globally by 2025 and will publish progress against this target each year.

Stephen Richardson, IChemE President said:

“Climate change is at the top of IChemE’s agenda and I’m delighted that we have now published our position on climate change. I would like to thank the Learned Society Committee for leading on this important project, the multi-national task group that developed the statement, and the members for sharing their knowledge and expertise.

“Working with stakeholders through public engagement and policy work, IChemE members are critically aware that in order to serve society we must take firm action to meet the challenges ahead.

“The publication of this position on climate change is a significant step in IChemE’s undertaking in this area. To meet the commitments detailed in the document, the next stage will be the delivery of a full programme of climate change action plans which will be reviewed, and reported on, on an annual basis.”

Mark Apsey MBE, Chair of the IChemE Energy Centre and Climate Change task group lead, said:

“Understanding the importance of climate change, IChemE members are critically aware that in order to serve society we must take action now to bring about the urgent action required.

“Chemical, biochemical and process engineers are heavily involved in some of the industries and sectors that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, meaning that we are in the inimitable position of having the specialist knowledge and experience required to address the challenges represented by climate change.

“Through this wide-ranging consultation, IChemE members have agreed that there are many actions that we can take now to bring about the pressing action that is necessary. Providing sound evidence, knowledge and resources in our proactive conversations with policy makers, stakeholders, fellow members and employers will help to bring about change. Understanding the challenges of some of the sectors in which chemical engineers work, we can help facilitate opportunities between members and their employers in establishing pathways to net zero carbon emissions and assisting businesses to adapt to a changing environment.”

In developing the position statement, the task group leading the project engaged with IChemE’s member groups, special interest groups and committees, and invited input from the Institution’s 33,000 members located across the world. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive with the nine principles receiving over 80% support from all respondents.

For more information on the extensive commitments IChemE has pledged to meet, please read the full position statement.


IChemE Climate Change position statement


For more information please contact:

Lucy Cook, Communications Manager, IChemE
t: +44 (0) 1788 534454

Rachael Fraser, Communications Executive, IChemE
t: +44 (0) 1788 534435

Ketna Mistry, Communications Executive, IChemE
t: +44 (0) 1788 534484

What is chemical engineering?

Chemical, biochemical and process engineering is the application of science, maths and economics in the process of turning raw materials into everyday, and more specialist, products. Professional chemical engineers design, construct and manage process operations all over the world. Oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, food and drink, synthetic fibres and clean drinking water are just some of the products where chemical engineering plays a central role.


The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) advances chemical engineering's contribution worldwide for the benefit of society. We support the development of chemical engineering professionals and provide connections to a powerful network of around 33,000 members in 100 countries.