Lab Canada

Chemicals forum ponders a greener future

Helsinki, Finland – An international multi-stakeholder forum called the Helsinki Chemicals Forum is taking place this week in Finland’s capital city. It is bringing together influential players in academic research, politics, non-governmental bodies, human interest groups and industry to discuss the future of the whole chemical sector. Growing concerns about the environment and the impact on peoples’ daily lives have led the parties to come together to explore new ideas to drive sustainable development in the sector, beyond just new technology and regulations.

The forum has four theme sessions that are moderated by internationally noted speakers and panellists: Chemical Industry Regulation; Competitiveness and Innovation; Safety and Sustainability; Chemistry and Consumers.

The overall objective of the forum is to set a Helsinki Agenda, and it is planned to become a yearly milestone in shaping the agenda for safe and sustainable development, manufacturing and the use of chemicals.

“As an open forum, HCF will encourage the cross functional conversation and exchange of ideas related to the chemical industry, environmental issues and scientific research. HCF brings together industry leaders and other decision-makers to shape the common agenda for a better life and environment,” says Kyösti Sysiö, secretary general, Helsinki Chemicals Forum 2009. “That there is a need for this kind of global forum is proven by the fact that the participants of HCF 2009 come from some 30 countries in Europe and overseas.”

“The bio economy can provide a wide range of business opportunities,” says Hannu Vornamo, director general of the Finnish Chemical Industry Federation and secretary general of the HCF 2010. “For example, it can provide innovative ways to convert different kinds of biomass into various fibres and chemical compounds, and can exploit biological processes in new ways. Biomass production can be increased sustainably, providing biofuels that can then be used to generate energy, thus reducing the need for fossil fuels.”

Speakers at this year’s forum include Stavros Dimas, European commissioner for the environment; Geert Dancet, executive director of the European Chemicals Agency; Mauri Pekkarinen, Finland’s minister of economic affairs, and Jussi Pajunen, mayor of Helsinki.