More co-operation in research partnerships is needed so that developing countries can also gain greater access to new bioeconomy technologies.
Photo: J. Boethling


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Economic growth coupled with environmental sustainability – that is the promise of the biobased economy. This article outlines the potential of this approach, the possible risks and the steps that must be taken if this potential is to be realised in developing countries as well.

The German government’s Bioeconomy Council defines the bioeconomy as “the knowledge-based production and use of biological resources to provide products, processes and services in all economic sectors within the frame of a sustainable economic system.” The vision of a sustainable bioeconomy is the comprehensive “biologisation” of the economy, with new bio-based industrial processes and products (e.g. bio-based plastics, building materials, etc.) and changes in consumers’ behaviour. Ultimately it is about a sustainable growth strategy that creates ecological and economic harmony. Biomass is an important resource for this: it will need to be produced in larger quantities and processed more efficiently. This provides employment and value-creation opportunities for developing countries. A bioeconomy strategy will require broad-based technological and institutional innovation. Although this will need to take very different forms in industrialised and developing countries, global learning and exchange of bioeconomic innovations will become an increasingly important aspect of it, in particular in order to avoid adverse effects for food security.

What are the challenges that we face?

World population growth, climate change and the need to protect the natural environment pose major challenges.

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