New briefing signposts ethical career paths in the chemical industry

Press release, 30 October 2006

While the chemical industry fends off criticism for its negative impacts on health and the environment, and struggles to recruit qualified graduates, a new briefing launched today examines the "ethical" career options that might inspire a fresh look at this sector - and at the same time make positive contributions to the planet.

Published by Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR), the briefing, "Career choice and the chemical industry" looks at scientific and engineering careers that can improve the environmental performance of the chemical industry or reduce its negative impacts on human health. It also highlights career options that can help eliminate chemicals weapons or reduce animal experiments. The briefing includes an explanation of the major regulatory changes that are currently taking place, especially in Europe, and the implications of these for ethical job seekers.

"Career choice and the chemical industry" is the latest in SGR's very popular series "Ethical careers in science, design and technology". It was written by Dr Anne Chapman who has a background in environmental consultancy and chemicals policy.

Dr Stuart Parkinson, series editor and Director of SGR, said: "The chemical industry is one of the largest employers of scientists and engineers in the UK, yet it is also one of the most criticised over a range of ethical issues. This briefing will help students and professionals navigate these issues and make career choices which have a positive impact on society."

He added: "The number of students taking physical sciences and engineering at universities has dropped in recent years, especially in subjects such as chemistry. By highlighting the careers which could have a positive benefit for society, this briefing will help excite young people’s interest in a scientific career rather more than the mantra of 'keeping the UK competitive in the knowledge-based economy'.


  1. SGR is an independent UK organisation of approximately 850 members across the natural and social sciences, engineering, IT, architecture and design. Its main aim is to promote ethical science, design and technology - based on the principles of openness, accountability, peace, social justice, and environmental sustainability. For more information see /

  2. "Career choice and the chemical industry" is an 8-page briefing that can be downloaded from /ethics.html

  3. SGR's ethical careers programme also provides a range of other useful material for students and professionals in science, design and technology. There are seven other 8-page briefings:

  • Corporations and career choice in science and technology;
  • Scientists or soldiers? Career choice, ethics and the military;
  • Unscrambling a space career from military forces;
  • Your career and sustainable development;
  • Career choice and climate change;
  • Cleaner technologies: a positive choice; and
  • Career choice, ethics and animal experimentation.

There are two 32-page booklets:

  • An ethical career in science and technology? (introductory booklet)
  • Critical Paths: 12 inspiring cases of ethical careers in science and technology

Also available is a list of ethical employers, related articles and useful web-links. All these materials can be downloaded or accessed from /ethics.html

  1. SGR's ethical careers publications have proven very popular. The demand has led to a total of over 10,000 copies being distributed to date. Feedback has been very positive. For example, one undergraduate said of the introductory booklet: "It provides exactly the type of information and advice that's missing from undergraduate science courses. It has a good, clear structure and I feel it is pitched at just the right level. Fantastic!


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