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York signs ‘Green Chemistry’ commitment

Posted on 4 October 2022

The University of York is one of the first UK Universities to sign the Green Chemistry Commitment - a charter to train the next generation of chemists about the key principles of green chemistry.

The University of Bath and Queen's University in Belfast have also signed the commitment along with over 100 universities worldwide.

Green Chemistry aims to remove the adverse impacts of chemistry on the environment by creating greener and more sustainable processes that offer environmentally-sound approaches to chemical products and processes.


The Green Chemistry Commitment is a global initiative to help transform chemistry education by preparing students with a better understanding of Green Chemistry to ensure they are fully equipped to use methods and chemicals that are benign for human health and the environment – with the potential to have very significant global impact.

Signatories to this initiative, developed by ‘Beyond Benign’, commit to provide Green Chemistry curriculum and specific training to their students. In particular, all students should consider aspects such as the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, toxicology and the impact chemicals can have on human health and the environment.

In the laboratory, students should be encouraged to explore how sustainable their processes are and develop greener alternatives to chemical processes as a part of the experiments and analysis they carry out.


The Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (GCCE) at the University of York, led by Professor Helen Sneddon is a world-leading academic facility for pioneering pure and applied green and sustainable chemical research through a variety of technology platforms.

Professor Sneddon said: “In an ideal world, Green Chemistry wouldn't exist as a sub-discipline. We need to move to a way of thinking where sustainability is considered as part of everything we do. Signing this commitment is symbolic of the growing integration of Green Chemistry across all Chemistry teaching and research at York. The next generation of chemists have enormous potential to accelerate the shift to greener chemistry, and it's an honour to be part of that process.”


The GCCE has expertise in developing high quality bespoke teaching on Green and Sustainable Chemistry within its highly successful MSc programme. This experience will be invaluable in ensuring that all students can benefit from the Green Chemistry Commitment.

The chemistry undergraduate degree programme is currently being revised as part of the University of York’s transformative modularisation and semesterisation programme for students starting in 2023, and the GCCE has therefore taken leadership of ensuring that all students will be exposed to the core principles of Green Chemistry and can develop expertise in thinking about, and practising, chemistry in a more sustainable way.


Furthermore, all PhD students in the Department will have new training on the ways in which Green Chemistry can impact on their research, providing a grounding in key principles, and examples of different ways in which they can be used in a research setting.

The Green Chemistry Commitment was signed by Head of Department Professor Caroline Dessent and Dean of the Faculty of Sciences, Professor Andy Dougill.

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