Alpbach Forum 2015 – Results of the breakout session: Bioeconomy in Action

Bioeconomy in Action: National Bioeconomy Strategies in Comparison

 

Green house gas emissions, the growing world population and its supply with food, environmental pollution, climate change as well as the increasing scarcity of resources pose major challenges to the international community and today’s fossil-based global economy. Biogenic, renewable resources can play a key role in reaching a low-carbon, resource-efficient society and a clean economy. Therefore, various industries all over the world such as the forest industry, the chemical industry, the biopharmaceutical industry, the agricultural and the food sector, as well as the energy industry together with scientists and public institutions combine efforts to realize a sustainable global bioeconomy.

 

Hence, the initiative “Bioeconomy Austria” established by BIOS Science Austria and OeVAF organised a highly international breakout session on the issue of bioeconomy at Forum Alpbach and invited leading experts from Austria (Martin Gerzabek), Finland (Jussi Manninen), Germany (Ulrich Schurr), India (Sanjay Kumar), Italy (Sara Savastano) and USA (Mary Maxon). Various national approaches were discussed in order to derive viable trajectories for an Austrian bioeconomy strategy.

 

Key messages:

  • A close co-operation of all relevant ministries is a conditio sine qua non.
  • A coordinated and integrated strategy between ministries in coherence with the EU strategy supported by an expert group is recommended.
  • Boundaries between traditional industries are blurring because of the cross-sectorial nature of Bioeconomy
  • The definition of clear long-term goals is necessary in order to increase speed and predictability of regulatory processes and to reduce regulatory barriers.
  • The Austrian economy will benefit from synergies between energy transition, bioeconomy, industry 4.0 in coherence with other existing strategies and policies.
  • The regionalisation of bioeconomy enables value creation within the scope of a region or within stakeholder communities and enhances rural development.
  • European coordination of regional strategies is required, taking into account the respective local demands and conditions.
  • Bioeconomy should foster the vision of a sustainable future development taking into account all dimensions of sustainability, including the ecological and social aspects.
  • Supported by innovation and ecological, technological, economic and social scientific research

 

In a broad perspective the so-called Knowledge-based Bioeconomy (KBBE) is now regarded to be an economy as such using biological resources from land and sea including waste as inputs to food, feed, industrial and energy production. Its aims are twofold: produce sustainably new renewable raw materials in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, and/or process such feedstock into new value-added products. Bioeconomy expands the science base to include modern knowledge e.g. of molecular and cell biology, biopharmaceuticals or the bioservices sector and takes advantage of information technology.

 

Comprehensive national approaches, strategic investments and the creation of new public-private partnerships are required today to enable the shift from a fossil-based economy towards a renewable and sustainable bioeconomy tomorrow.