How to pave the way for green-tech: Green Chemistry Conference 2018

On 5th and 6th November 2018, the Green Chemistry Conference assembled over 200 scientists, entrepreneurs and policymakers in Vienna who had one thing in common: pushing innovative green-tech forward.

The conference was initiated in the wake of an 18-month programme called „Smart and Sustainable Europe“ under Austria’s Trio EU Presidency (EE-BG-AT), which introduced policies, reviews, seminars and conferences addressing solution-based, eco-innovative perspectives on issues like a clean environment, economic growth, healthy lives and social well being. The Green Chemistry Conference was organised by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism (BMNT) and their key partners like the UNIDO.

Green Chemistry Conference
Green Chemistry Conference & Global Chemical Leasing Award on 6 November 2018 – Green Chemistry Startups: Green Chemistry Start-ups. Copyright Vienna Textile Lab/Ilinca Oprea

Among a selected group of startups, Vienna Textile Lab was honoured to be recognised and invited as pioneers of green tech. As our sustainable colours are subject to many chemical processes, environmentally friendly chemistry is at the core of our research. For us, the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry are a fundamental guideline to evaluate processes and chemicals that we employ and produce. Therefore we were not only excited to find a high-profile audience of important institutions and stakeholders in the field at the conference, but we were also happy to contribute to a key event for strengthening the EU strategy and an international network that puts green chemistry on the map.

Representatives of the European Commission, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), European Environment Agency (EEA) and other institutions introduced new legal and political frameworks, guiding the industry into a more sustainable future. Scientists and experts in the field from Austria, Germany, China, Canada and the USA gave insight into the state of the art research. We were very pleased to find the authors and founders of the 12 Principles mentioned above, John Warner and Paul Anastas, also present.

Green Chemistry Conference
Green Chemistry Conference & Global Chemical Leasing Award on 6 November 2018 – Green Chemistry Startups: poster session and networking. Copyright BKA/Christopher Dunker

Richard presented our work at Vienna Textile Lab in a pitch, highlighting the positive impact that green chemistry could have in the dyeing industry. Following his presentation, we received curious feedback and we are happy to answer questions on the topics of biodegradable, microbial dye or circular processes in our projects. Next to other startups like Acticell and Materialize.X, Ilinca, Laura and Felix held a poster session which allowed them to network with key players like the International Sustainable Collaborative Center ISC3. Our CEO, Karin, was invited to a panel discussion and shared the challenges a green-tech start-up has to tackle in Austria, starting with funding.

This is why we hope to see more investments in the future, once green chemistry is widely established across science, industry and politics.

Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

As a result of the Green Chemistry Conference in Vienna, the UN Environment Agency and the UN Industrial Development Organization sketched a global context and industrial agreements were introduced such as the highly important Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) framework for the textile industry. In the aftermath of the conference, the Platform for Green Chemistry in Austria was conceived in follow-up events and induced by the Federal Ministry for Climate Action in Austria in 2020.