The Future Policy Award 2023 will take a closer look at policies for a toxic-free world, regulating the use of hazardous chemicals in products, with a focus on children and their environment.
Berlin/Hamburg/New York, 8th November 2022 – Each year, the World Future Council, in collaboration with UN agencies, highlights exemplary policies in one field where innovation and action are particularly urgent. With its renowned Future Policy Award 2023, the foundation will therefore celebrate the world’s best laws, policies, and legal frameworks that protect the environment and human health from toxic substances in products (for children).
Chemical substances are added to almost all products we use in our daily life. In fact, in the period from 2017 to 2030 alone, the sales of chemicals are expected to double, reaching 6.6 trillion US dollars (UNEP (2019), Global Chemicals Outlook II from Legacies to Innovative Solutions -Synthesis Report (2019), p. 17,, ISBN: 978-92-807-3745-5). Many of the toxic chemicals are not only particularly harmful for the environment, but also for human health, especially for children. Due to their light body weight, and on-going physical and mental development, children can be affected already by small amounts of hazardous chemicals. With the toy market alone expected to grow to a value of 131 billion US dollars by 2025, it is important to make sure that products marketed for children are safe (https://saicmknowledge.org/).
Legislation and rules regulating the management of harmful chemicals should ideally take into account the entire life cycle of the product. In this way, negative impacts on human health and the environment can be minimised in the best possible way, says Prof. Dr Dirk Messner, President of the German Environment Agency.
Humanity faces a triple planetary crisis: climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Contributing to pollution, chemical substances are added to almost all products we use in our daily life. We also use the term silent pandemic because the danger is often not visible. Yet, we have to take it very, very seriously and especially protect children from it“, says Alexandra Wandel, Executive Director of World Future Council.
Chemicals are an essential part of our society and, when used correctly, bring important benefits in sectors such as medical and consumer products. However, their responsible management is crucial to avoid risks to human health and the environment, as well as significant costs to the public“, explains Nikhil Seth, Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).
With the Call for Nominations, we seek comprehensive policies, laws and legal frameworks that protect the environment and human health from toxic substances in products. Since children are especially vulnerable, a special focus shall be on products explicitly designed for children or products that children are exposed to.
The Future Policy Award will be awarded in partnership with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) as well as the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), the German Environment Agency (UBA) and the Michael Otto Foundation. The award ceremony will take place during the 5th International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5) in September 2023 in Bonn.
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About World Future Council
The World Future Council envisions a healthy planet with just and peaceful societies – now and in the future. To achieve this, we identify, develop, highlight, and spread future-just solutions for current challenges humanity is facing and award them with our unique Future Policy Award. Our Council consists of 50 eminent global changemakers from civil society, science, politics, and business. They meet annually at the World Future Forum to discuss the most urgent challenges and policy solutions to them. Jakob von Uexkull, the Founder of the Alternative Nobel Prize, launched the World Future Council in 2007. For information visit www.worldfuturecouncil.org
This project is funded by the Federal Environment Agency and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection. The funds are made available by resolution of the German Bundestag.