Even now, Europe does not have enough land to cover its demand for agricultural products. The transition to the bioeconomy massively increases this demand.
Photo: Bilderbox.com

08.09.2014

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Bioeconomy strategies can contribute to poverty reduction – provided that they are circumspectly designed. Binding regulations are needed guaranteeing that the human right to adequate food is not threatened. Sustainability standards only make sense if the primacy of food security is not only formally integrated in them but is also anchored by verifiable criteria.

A few years ago, the European Union and the United States of America took a crucial step towards the bioeconomy by deciding to introduce and promote biofuels. This political target has led to a broad public debate on “food before fuel”. While politicians, bioenergy associations and environmental and development organisations are still struggling for a compromise on biofuel quota, the use of biomass has increased almost unnoticed in other sectors. Here, possible impacts on global food security are seldom examined. For example those of bottles made of bioplastics gained from sugar cane. Or bio-dowels based on castor oil. Neither is the question raised how our cows are going to graze when rubber is gained from dandelion milk for our winter tyres in future. Of course we want to bid farewell to an economy centring on the environmentally harmful use of fossil resources. The use of biomass is an important element of an ecologically sustainable mode of economy – not only in the energy sector.

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