COMMENT: The charge of the green brigade

05 February 2007 00:00  [Source: ICB]

The environment debate has certainly gone global. Far from being a specific concern of industry, and the chemical sector in particular, green issues are now top of the public's agenda.

It is difficult these days to open a newspaper and not see columns of newsprint rehearsing the dangers of global warming and climate change. This week, ICIS Chemical Business is adding to this coverage with a special green issue devoted entirely to the environment and how it affects our industry.

I make no apology for this - I consider it crucial that our industry, and everyone who works in it, is aware of and can address all aspects of the green debate. This ranges from global warming and water pollution, to the safety of chemicals and the plants used to make them, to the recycling of waste.

The publication of this special issue has proved timely. Last week saw the end of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where global warming was high on the political agenda. This week sees the 24th session of the UN Environment Programme's (UNEP) governing council and global ministerial forum, in Nairobi, Kenya.

Ahead of this meeting, UNEP has named seven world leaders as "Champions of the Earth", for their efforts on the environment. On the list are Al Gore, former US vice president, for "educating the world on the dangers posed by rising greenhouse gas emissions" and Viveka Bohn of Sweden, for "playing a prominent role in multilateral negotiations and her leadership in global efforts to ensure chemical safety."

The point UNEP is making through these awards is that, despite all the efforts by governments, the private sector, local authorities and civil society, environmental efforts also need people capable of catalysing change, empowering others and inspiring action. No longer can environmental issues be left to others we can all make a difference and, indeed, must do so to avoid the calamities that poor environmental practice can cause.

I hope this green issue of ICIS Chemical Business will provide plenty of food for thought, and, indeed, spur you to look for ways your company can improve how it operates, to reduce its environmental footprint and aid sustainable development.




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