Two years into the “decade of action” to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN in 2015, how much has been accomplished, and how well is chemistry performing in its intertwined goals of enhancing sustainability and reforming itself?
The 2015 UN agreement on Agenda 2030, setting 17 time-bound Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),1) represented a challenge and opportunity for science, working in concert with other sectors, to provide effective, environmentally benign, and affordable solutions to many of the pressing problems faced by human beings and the physical and living systems of the planet we inhabit.2) The reach and ingenuity of the chemical sciences must be central to achieving these goals. However, as we commented3) at the time the SDGs were launched, to play its optimum role chemistry needs not only to provide specific solutions to sustainability challenges but also to reimagine its priorities as part of the process. The nature of this reappraisal was encapsulated in the concept of “one-world” chemistry4), whose defining characteristics include the repositioning of chemistry as a
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