Two papers have recently been published on the topic of sustainability and nanomaterials.

The first, Nanotechnology for a Sustainable Future: Addressing Global Challenges with the International  Network4Sustainable Nanotechnology, looks at the contribution that nanotechnologies can give to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The paper, co-authored among others by NIA member the Nano Institute of Sydney University, argues that nanotechnology can accelerate progress towards the SGDs (whose target year is 2030), both directly and through interdisciplinarity. It discusses the role of nano-enabled solutions, technology transfer, circular economy, and includes examples from national strategies. Leading nanocenters around the world have also formed a network to continue the conversation and to support joint action towards global challenges.

The second paper, Safe- and sustainable-by-design: The case of Smart Nanomaterials. A perspective based on a European workshop, looks at smart nanomaterials as a case study of the challenges to develop and implement safe and sustainable-by-design (SSbD) approaches in the chemical industry. The paper builds on the findings of a workshop organized in the fall of 2020 by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), which introduced the concept of SSbD and discussed related industrial and regulatory challenges for smart nanomaterials.

Among the needs identified were i) an agreed terminology; ii) a common understanding of SSbD principles; iii) criteria, assessment tools, and incentives to achieve a transition from safe-by-design SSbD; and iv) regulatory preparedness for innovative nanomaterials. The paper presents the current state of the art as well as the needs for future activities, based on the workshop outcome and further considerations.