The Bioeconomy

What is the bioeconomy?

The bioeconomy is an economic system in which biological resources, such as plants, animals, and microorganisms, and their by-products are used to produce a wide range of products, including chemicals, where waste from one process becomes a resource for another.

The industrial bioeconomy, bio-based and bio-degradable materials offer a realistic opportunity to significantly reduce our reliance on fossil resources.

In the USA today some 14,000 products made from bio-based materials, many of which are also biodegradable, are listed in the US Government’s Preferred Purchasing Programme for bio-based products, which you can view here.

Benefits of the bioeconomy

The health of the planet we all call home is under threat, with earth’s natural systems and boundaries being increasingly breached on a daily basis, causing reduced air and water quality, climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution from toxic materials.

In a world threatened by climate change, the drive towards a more environmentally friendly economy is not an option, it is an obligation. The bioeconomy provides solutions to the main challenges facing humanity today, almost all of which are linked to climate change:

  • Ensure food security and reduce hydric stress
  • Sustainable management of natural resources to avoid overexploitation
  • Reduce dependence on fossil fuels and promote renewable energies
  • Develop actions aimed at mitigating and adapting to climate change
  • Create green jobs and maintain productivity and competitiveness
  • Reduce GHG emissions and improve public health

The bioeconomy, the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs

The 2030 agenda was adopted by the United Nations (UN) in 2015. This action plan encompasses the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and although all of these goals can benefit from the application of the bioeconomy, an FAO study has found four related areas:

1. The bioeconomy influences the achievement of the end of poverty, zero hunger and the reduction of inequalities.

2. The bioeconomy relates to the goals of clean water and sanitation, sustainable cities and communities and responsible consumption and production.

3. The bioeconomy drives sustainable industry and infrastructure, as well as promoting economic growth and decent work.

4. The bioeconomy promotes health and well-being and climate action, which benefits underwater life and the life of terrestrial ecosystem life.