Summer School 2017 25.09.17 - 29.09.17

Sustainable Chemistry and the Case of Electronic Goods



Sustainable chemistry is a new approach on chemistry as a science as well as of high importance for industry, regulators and consumers. To our understanding, it encompasses all life stages of chemical products and materials taking into consideration their contribution to a more sustainable future (see Clark & Kümmerer 2015) namely the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sustainable chemistry therefore addresses usage of resources, design, manufacture and use of efficient, effective, safe and more environmentally benign chemical products and processes but also alternative business models and ethical aspects. It embraces and connects several chemical and non-chemical disciplines.
The worldwide implementation of sustainable chemistry is key to reduce unwanted environmental, health and societal impacts of chemicals and chemical products along their life cycle and to achieve sustainable production and consumption. Especially in emerging and developing countries, there is a need for environmentally sound management and substitution of hazardous chemicals including electronic goods and electronic waste serving as an important sector. For example such goods contain a complex mixture of elements such as metals and others in various combinations and species as well as plastics that in turn contain again organic different chemical entities such flame-retardants, plasticizers. In other words such goods need many different resources, are complex, may cause problems within their use phase and present enormous challenges at their end of live including recycling of e-waste.

A better understanding of opportunities as well as limitations of sustainable chemistry is essential including the economical and societal costs of wrong decisions ignoring prerequisites, specific circumstances and opportunities and limitations.


The 3rd Summer School on Sustainable Chemistry for Sustainable Development provided the participants with an understanding of the latest developments of the concepts of sustainable chemistry and chemicals management in general. One target of the summer school was to discuss the scope and benefit of sustainable chemistry in value chains and chemicals in products. Electronic goods served as an illustrative example within this year’s summer school: It therefore took a closer look on specific problems such as recycling, dissipation, rebound effect and materials design issues (benign by design).
The issue of sustainable production and consumption in international cooperation was addressed in this context too, to identify possible approaches and solutions. The exchange of experiences between the participants within practical exercises and workshops complemented the lectures.


The program of the summer school included a theoretical part (lectures) and practical exercises/case studies, group discussions and an excursion to exemplify and deepen important aspects of sustainable chemistry. The trainers’ team consisted of scientists and practitioners as well as of individuals who actively operate in different fields of sustainable chemistry and international co-operations. On top of that experts in the field of electronic goods and electronic waste contributed. Two days (Part 1) were dedicated to the more general concepts, tools, and approaches of sustainable chemistry. Especially in Part 2 participants actively worked together in workshops related to the topics mentioned above, i.e. bringing together sustainable chemistry and the electronic goods sector. Possible approaches to identify current challenges and to suggest possible solutions in a broad understanding according to the cross-cutting nature of sustainable chemistry (“What do we already have, what do we still need?”) were worked on. Participants brought in their own background and experiences in this part.

Part 1: General Concepts and Approaches of Sustainable Chemistry

  • Concept of green and sustainable chemistry
  • Reference points of intervention: national – European – international
  • Practical implementation of sustainable chemicals management in the fields of international cooperation and development cooperation
  • The role of the industry for sustainable chemistry   

Part 2: Sustainable Chemistry and Electronic Goods

  • Design principles
  • Resources
  • Recycling
  • Challenges for the chemicals industry, electronic industry, and recycling industry
  • Existing approaches and best practices
  • Existing challenges

An excursion to Aurubis AG (one day) allowed for insights into up-to-date industrial practice processes and challenges.



The summer school aims at postgraduates and young professionals who deal with or are professionally interested in the topic of sustainable chemistry as a cross-cutting issue.



The Summer School on Sustainable Chemistry for Sustainable Development is organized jointly by the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaboration Center (ISC3 and the Chair for Sustainable Chemistry and Physical Resources at the Institute of Sustainable and Environmental Chemistry of Leuphana University Lüneburg (

For further information on the first two summer schools, please visit Global Chemicals and Waste Information Platform.