FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Wed Nov 11 15:42:03 EST 2009

American Chemical Society, Royal Society of Chemistry agree to joint global sustainability efforts

WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2009 –– Two of the world’s largest chemical societies today pledged to work cooperatively to contribute to global efforts aimed at developing sustainable energy, providing abundant food and clean water, and seeking to address other global challenges that threaten the sustainability of our planet.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) agreed to mutually use their resources to contribute to global efforts that seek out solutions for many of the emerging problems caused by unprecedented worldwide population growth and shrinking availability of the resources needed to sustain life as we know it.

“Today is a defining milestone in the history of our organizations,” said Madeleine Jacobs, ACS Executive Director & CEO. “I’m convinced that both the members of the RSC and the ACS are uniquely positioned to contribute their knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm to solving these challenges. It is increasingly obvious to all of us that science is a global endeavor. It is, therefore, imperative that we transcend our local boundaries and collaborate more efficiently to maximize the limited resources at our disposal.”

As part of the signed agreement, each Society will utilize its considerable scientific expertise — both as an organization as well as that of its diverse, active and talented members — to address some of the world’s most challenging issues. They will also promote joint scientific seminars in the United States and United Kingdom, featuring key scientists and policymakers.

In addition, RSC and ACS will work together to develop a “primer” to help the general public better understand the basic chemistry underlying the global challenges confronting us and their possible solutions. The two organizations will also collaborate to train chemists to speak compellingly and convincingly, in non-technical terms, about our sustainability challenges.

“We take this remarkable step in the shared belief that ensuring sustainability is a critical challenge for the long-term survival and prosperity of Earth and its peoples,” said Judith L. Benham, Chair of the ACS Board of the Directors. “We’re motivated by the conviction that chemistry must play a significant role in providing worldwide solutions to these challenges.”

This new collaborative alliance with the RSC is one of many international partnerships ACS has initiated in recent years with scientific organizations in Brazil, Japan, France and other countries worldwide.

“Many of the challenges that we face can not be solved by a single organization or by a single country,” said RSC Chief Executive Richard Pike. “But, in fact, they demand the international collaboration that we’re striving for and is recognized in this (new agreement).”

RSC President C. David Garner concurred, noting that this agreement should be viewed as a starting point for other possible collaborations. “We plan that this will be a hub to which other chemical societies worldwide will be linked,” Garner said.

— Doug Dollemore

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