Today, the Asia-Pacific region is at the center of the world economy, but having this responsibility means that there will be many challenges and responsibilities for all of us. Production volume is growing in response to the continuous increase of global demand that is driving new innovations and businesses at unprecedented rates of growth that are thriving and being created almost simultaneously as new areas are discovered. Along with this remarkable economic growth and prosperity, our responsibility to the environment is also increasing; material intensity, which is the use of resources to produce products, is driving development of society with such large projections of consumption and production, that they can be considered to be unsustainable. We have to rethink some aspects of our growth and motivation.
As the result of a United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, a new set of 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) were formulated for 2030, which gives 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in areas of People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnership. While the Asia-Pacific region has the greatest growth in the World, its material intensity is also the greatest, which means that Earth's resources are increasingly being used inefficiently without regard to their environmental or social impact. One of the most important goals of the 18th Asian Pacific Confederation of Chemical Engineering Congress is to introduce innovative methods and techniques for reducing material intensity without degrading environmental and social conditions. The critical step in achieving the SDGs is philosophy for decoupling economic growth and environmental issues. So far, chemical engineering has contributed to the society through development and implementation of innovative chemical technologies and maximizing efficiency in process systems. However, to achieve sustainability, we have to embrace a completely new philosophy to include, as paramount, the well-being of society, Earth's environment and respect for nature. We propose to call this new philosophy “Sufficiency,” which has the goal of not only lowering material intensity and increasing process efficiency, but also, at the same time and with paramount importance, improving the well-being of people, their living and working conditions and the Earth's environment.
The theme of APCChE 2019 Congress is “Chemical Engineering for Sustainable Development Goals.” APCChE is an opportunity for all of us in the Asia-Pacific region to promote ideas to achieve the SDG 17 “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.” The Congress will provide many opportunities to discuss how chemical engineering will contribute to the SDGs in the world and will be a landmark event for promoting cooperation in the region.