OECD Conference on Potential Environmental Benefits of Nanotechnology: Fostering Safe Innovation-Led Growth


Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (ENV)

and Working Party on Nanotechnology (STI)


OECD Conference Centre

Paris, 15-17 July 2009

Background  | Objective and Scope | Programme | Registration | Useful Information


NEW- speakers presentations now available



Nanotechnology is an emerging technology which could significantly contribute to raising living standards and improving the quality of life. It has already been applied in many products from energy efficiency, to healthcare, to environmental protection, and to information and communication technologies. Many more applications are expected in the future. Ways of maximising the benefits of nanotechnology, along with ensuring human health and environmental safety with regard to nanomaterials, is becoming an important topic for discussion, a new source of economic growth and a potential “win-win” opportunity for both the environment and the economy. In this respect, the conference output will significantly contribute to accelerating OECD’s current efforts for fostering “green” and innovation-led growth.  


Download the full banckground paper


Objective and Scope

The conference covered both the opportunities and the challenges of the use of nanotechnologies for potential environmental benefit. The conference aimed at learning from international expertise and identifying ways in which to improve in a timely manner policies with the potential to enhance both short- and long-term economic growth.

The conference provided an opportunity for governments, academia and industry to consider the state-of-the-art of nanotechnologies, their potential to bring environmental benefits and any potential human health and environmental safety concerns at the same time.

In particular, the conference addressed sustainability and life cycle aspects in a variety of sectors in which nanotechnology has the potential to give rise to environmental benefits. Thus, the conference explored the environmental profiles of emerging nanoscale innovation with the goal of encouraging development of technologies that can result in environmental gain while addressing unintended consequences.

The following topics were addressed:

  • Pollution Reduction;
  • Cleaner production;
  • Other benefits including environmental remediation; and
  • Societal drivers such as policy innovations, and business/NGO leadership.


Key areas for case studies included:

  • Energy generation, storage and conservation 
  • Catalysis;
  • Cleaner production;
  • Water treatment and purification;
  • Remediation;
  • Environmental monitoring; and
  • Green chemistry – synthesis and processing of chemicals.




The programme consisted of the following sessions:


Plenary Session One: Setting the Scene

Plenary Session Two: Life Cycle Perspectives

Parallel Session One: Water Treatment and Purification

Parallel Session Two: Environmental Sensing

Parallel Session Three: Clean Car Technology

Parallel Session Four: Cellulose Nano Fibres

Parallel Session Five: Site Remediation


Each session explored and discussed the pre-eminent perspectives within each field in order to address:

  • State-of-art technologies;
  • Potential environmental benefits;
  • Potential human health and environmental safety concerns and issues; and
  • A framework and policies to evaluate and address these factors together.


Click here to download the Draft Programme in PDF format.

Click here to view the speakers' presentations


Abstracts and speaker guidelines are available here:




Presentations and the reports of the outcomes of the conference will be made available on this site during August. 


Related Documents