Benign by Design

Leather – a future through science and sustainability

Benign by Design is the overriding principle in many green chemistry and sustainability initiatives. We decided to choose this meaningful term as the main slogan even for the XXXV. IULTCS congress, because it exactly points out how we believe research and development should be characterized.  Modern chemical solutions should aim to end deterioration of the environment - this needs to be a clear message to the scientists.

Leather as a substrate has the potential for an ultimate sustainable material! It’s all a matter of design - Chemists need to design now next generation leather chemicals, that on one hand they still provide a high technical performance in their respective application, but that on the other hand they can be applied in a sustainable process and only survive in leather as long as it is providing its necessary function; afterwards they should be either recyclable for other use, or can biodegrade in a reasonable time in a bio system without resulting in harmful intermediates and final substances.

A future through science and sustainability: In the past, chemicals have been designed for its application purpose mainly. Products were developed to strive for high and long-term performance in use. There was the believe that a long durability of molecules is always an important and positive criteria. In contradiction future concepts for sustainability need to be built on a full life cycle perspective. Bioaccumulation and contaminations of our environment with non-natural and even hazardous substances have been identified as a big issue for the biological systems of our plant and the health of all living species.

Many scientists today already think that way and need to be encouraged to share their views. The congress should provide  a perfect platform and opportunity to communicate latest achievements as well as new conceptual thinking. Delegates should get inspired to go home afterwards with new project ideas for sustainable chemical/technical solutions.