IChemE demonstrates commitment to addressing climate change ahead of COP27
31st October 2022
Ahead of the COP27 climate change conference to be held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, from 6 November, the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) has shared its progress made against commitments stated within the Institution’s position on climate change, first launched in 2020.
Developed through consultation with members, the position statement spells out IChemE’s commitment to work with all stakeholders, from governments to communities around the world, to deliver a fair, safe and sustainable future. Founded on nine key principles, including the endorsement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the statement includes a series of commitments for IChemE members, IChemE operations and for the industries in which members work.
Given IChemE’s diverse and international membership, many of the commitments within the statement are complex and therefore challenging to deliver. The working group formed to monitor IChemE’s delivery against the commitments has reported that good progress has already been made on many of the commitments, noting particular successes made in the areas referenced below.
Net zero and climate change have been key topics for IChemE policy work in recent years. Since January 2021, IChemE has published ten contributions to policy issues on its website. Of these, nine represented chemical engineering or general engineering input and advice relating to addressing climate issues and progressing towards net zero.
IChemE committed to develop plans for achieving net zero carbon emissions from direct operations globally by 2025, and to publish greenhouse gas emissions data and progress each year. Annual reports showing a reduction in emissions in recent years have been published and an expert advisory group has developed guidance on good practice for minimising emissions from rented property and advised IChemE regarding carbon offsets.
Working towards the commitment of offering more training courses on key carbon reduction and adaptation, IChemE’s Sustainability Hub, launched in February 2022, contains a growing collection of training courses on subjects that contribute to sustainability, with more courses in development.
IChemE’s member communities have been encouraged to host webinars that both build skills for zero carbon futures and help members to understand climate risks. By the end June 2022, 37 out of 95 technical webinars held during the year were aligned with sustainability and responsible production. A compendium of freely available climate-related webinar recordings delivered by IChemE’s special interest and member groups has also been produced, with 30 new recordings added this year.
Two of IChemE’s special interest groups (SIGs), the Pharma and Clean Energy SIGs, have also published their Climate Change Action Plans. To drive action on climate change throughout IChemE’s Learned Society, the Institution’s member communities have developed action plans on how chemical engineers can help mitigate climate change with the two new plans now available to view.
Following the launch of its climate change position statement in 2020, IChemE committed to review the statement every two years. During the 2022 review, the volunteer committee determined that the statement was still relevant with only one update being required. The update strengthened the requirement for members’ continuing professional development (CPD) to include activities which provide the knowledge and skills to support members and their organisations in the transition to a net zero carbon economy and in climate change adaptation.
Andrew Jamieson, IChemE Past President and Chair of the Climate Change Commitments Working Group, said:
“I am delighted to see IChemE moving in this positive direction and starting to deliver in a meaningful way against its commitments even though the range of commitments is broad and includes some challenging items. We also recognise that delivering against all these commitments is not an insignificant undertaking and will take time to bring to fruition.
“We now look forward to seeing IChemE’s progress against those commitments that require longer-term action, notably determining the Institution’s role in enabling society to achieve a “just transition” to a low-carbon economy, outreach to the public and to employers of chemical engineers, as well as influence in the process engineering sector. The working group will start to develop actions to address these commitments in early 2023.”
For more information on IChemE’s climate change activities, visit www.icheme.org/cop27.
For more information please contact:
Lucy Cook, Communications Manager, IChemE
t: +44 (0) 1788 534454
Claire Shepherd, Communications Executive, IChemE
t: +44 (0) 1788 534457
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 over 30,000 members in more than 100 countries.
We support our members in applying their expertise and experience to make an influential contribution to solving major global challenges, and are the only organisation permitted to award Chartered Chemical Engineer status and Professional Process Safety Engineer registration.