In the past, much of the process industries has been characterised by an exploitive use of natural resources, often taking insufficient account of the environmental consequences. Today, however, there is widespread recognition of the need to adopt cleaner, sustainable practices by switching from a resource-intensive to a knowledge-based approach.
The goal of sustainable engineering is to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Using and building on our accumulated knowledge and expertise, further research can help to provide a solution to the challenge of climate change. By developing sound eco-efficient processes, reducing the environmental impact of industrial processes and products, optimising the use of finite resources and minimising waste, knowledge-based engineering can contribute greatly to ‘doing more with less’.