Responsible production, innovation and industry

Responsible production, innovation and industry

Responsible production means producing goods and services in an ethical and sustainable manner. If we are to engineer a sustainable world, we will need action to research, develop and scale up, as chemical engineering innovation moves beyond invention to design and produce at scale. Continuous improvement and disruptive innovation enable improved productivity, efficiency, and adoption of appropriate technologies.

Why is responsible production, innovation and industry important?

Increasing process effectiveness and efficiency has long been a core role for chemical engineers, but the focus on responsible production, innovation and industry goes beyond this. It promotes the production of goods and services in an ethical and sustainable manner, with better technologies which will minimise the societal and environmental impact of production and consumption cycles while improving the sustainability of the processes used.

This can only be achieved if we foster innovation and promote sustainable industrialisation.

Chemical engineering is applied throughout the production chain, from extractive industries to manufacturers of bulk and specialty chemicals, industrial and medical gases, materials for manufacturing consumer products, and of consumer products themselves.

To develop the circular economy, chemical engineers need to apply their well-known ability to analyse systems at scales from the molecular to the global. They need to work on the entire supply chain in order to understand the relationships between production, the usage of the stock of materials and goods already in the economy, recycling and ‘waste’. To achieve net zero will require innovation and development of sustainable industrial practices at all these scales. The tools in the chemical engineer’s kitbag include deep expertise of life cycle analysis, systems thinking, and translating research into industry, to name but a few.

SDG alignment

This Priority Topic aligns with SDGs 9 and 12 – Infrastructure, Sustainable Industrialisation and Innovation, and Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns.