12th Symposium of the European Society of Biochemical Engineering Sciences

Bioeconomy for sustainable development

 

Alfredo Aguilar

Chairman Task Force Bioeconomy, European Federation of Biotechnology; Head of unit (ret.) European Commission (alfredo.aguilar@efb-central.org)

 

Bioeconomy is a new paradigm of managing the biological resources of the planet that is at the same time sustainable, economically viable and generating new jobs. The European Union pioneered this approach with the launch in 2012 of a strategy for a sustainable bioeconomy, followed by most European countries and by numerous other countries in the rest of the world.

The global challenges faced by humanity, such as population growth, food safety and quality, climate change and possible ways of adapting to it or mitigating its effects, the degradation of the environment or the reduction of energy dependence on fossil resources, among others, require a decisive, coordinated and effective response. The bioeconomy is a key and decisive element in the search for solutions to these challenges.

Bioeconomy is also a source of new bioproducts derived from agricultural or municipal waste. Examples are biolubricants, bioplastics, biofuels or elements for the construction, furniture and automobile industries. However, the full potential of bioeconomy is yet to be fully developed.

The actors of the bioeconomy are scientists and technicians as well as farmers, bio-entrepreneurs, the industrial world in general, the financial sectors, political leaders, and above all, society. Bioeconomy is neither an academic discipline, nor a new technology, nor an industrial sector. It's all that and much more. It is, above all, the interaction of all these elements, supported by society that is converting the bioeconomy into a new movement. Bioeconomy poses a new way of relating humans to the environment and a new dynamic that very likely will continue in the next generations. This process is already under way and has begun in many parts of the world.