“Bioeconomy: A Great Potential Strategy to Conquer Sustainable Development Goals”


Bioeconomy consists of those parts of the economy that utilize renewable biological and natural resources from terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems like, forests, fish, animals, crops, and microbes to generate food, energy, medicine, textiles, and other essential products. It refers to the integration of economic activity with biotechnology and biomass to produce goods, energy, and services through the application of scientific technology in the field of agriculture, energy, chemical, and health industries.

In 2010 Albrecht & al. in the report of the “The Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy (KBBE) in Europe: Achievements and Challenges” defined bioeconomy as, “The bio-economy is the sustainable production and conversion of biomass, for a range of food, health, fiber, and industrial products and energy, where renewable biomass encompasses any biological material to be used as raw material.”

Sustainable Bioeconomy

Sustainable use of limited natural resources through implementing knowledge-based bioeconomy is one of the strategies to achieve the economic, ecological, and social aspects of sustainability. In 2020, around 54 countries had introduced policy strategies that are relevant to bioeconomy. Currently, strategies of sustainable bioeconomy are progressively aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and contribute to achieving thirteen of the seventeen SDGs.

Circular Bioeconomy

A circular bioeconomy is a conceptual framework that aims to achieve sustainable livelihoods and wellbeing of the human being in harmony with nature through using renewable resources to transform and sustainably manage the land, food, health, energy, and industrial system. Biological resources are the core of a circular bioeconomy. Therefore, it is vital to determine the capacity of the biological system to adapt to changing environments, and also mandatory to ensure the resilience and sustainability of biological resources. A circular bioeconomy can be the catalyst to modernize and make the industries more circular by nature. Nevertheless, it is possible through implementing new business models and innovations to become more circular in the usage of renewable biological resources like forestry and wood products, chemicals, textiles, bio-plastics and generate lower carbon industries.

Is Bioeconomy having Great Future Potential?

According to United Nations, the global population is estimated to reach 9 billion in 2050, which will demand a 50% increase in the production of food and energy. The utmost challenge is to meet the basic human needs and limiting the adverse environmental impacts. In this situation, the strategic implementation of bioeconomy can help us to face the challenges for both present and future generations. Most marine resources are fully utilized, many are over-utilized and many forests are overexploited that they can recover.

It requires a deep transformation of the socio-economic system. According to the new Nature Economy Report II by the World Economic Forum, the sustainable management of forests can produce business opportunities of $230 billion and 16 million jobs by 2030. The transition from conventional energy and extractives socio-economic systems to resource-efficient circular models can lead to business opportunities of $2.3trillion and 30 million jobs by 2030. Furthermore, working with nature in the development sector can generate a total of $3 trillion business opportunities and 117 million jobs by 2030.

“The circular, bio-based economy has great future potential, and is particularly important for regional development.” – Sven-Erik Bucht, Minister for Rural Affairs, Sweden.

The Key principles of Sustainable Bioeconomy

In the Nordic and Baltic countries, common ground and good practices for a sustainable bioeconomy are developed by setting guiding principles of bioeconomy. The guiding principles are:

  • Sustainable resource management by and responsible use of shared resources by developing new technologies and make resource-efficient production from harvested biomass. Besides, upgrading wastes and residues to the production system and add value by circular bio-solutions through reusing and recycling materials in the value chain.
  • Ensuring food security and health for all by generating sufficient and nutritious food. The development and production of sustainable and healthy food along with pharmaceutical products will improve the health and nutrition status of human beings.
  • Building a resilient and diverse ecosystem by supporting actions to cut air pollution, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, use renewable energy, enhancing terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity, restoring and sustaining ecosystems.
  • Developing sustainable cities and ensuring inclusive economic and social prosperity through generating decent jobs, sustainable business models, and providing environmental, social, and economic opportunities at local, regional, national, and international phases.
  • Emphasis on sustainable consumption by altering consumer behavior, encouraging green procurement, increasing awareness on sustainable practices, reusing, recycling, and upcycling of bio-based products.
Bioeconomy Strategy to Achieve Sustainability

Adopting, developing, and implementing bioeconomy offers a significant opportunity to achieve the SDGs at the global level. The emerging issue of Covid-19 along with climate change and ecosystem degradation limiting our planet’s natural resources. To sustainably meet the global demand, it is crucial to understand the knowledge-intensive use of biological resources. The application of bio-based pieces of knowledge on the intensive use of biological resources during the production of goods and services in all sectors of the economy is becoming mainstream for the economy and sustainable development. From a sustainability perspective, bioeconomy drives the replacement of fossil fuels in industrial production and energy supply with renewable biogenic feedstock.

In bioeconomy, the productive models integrating the use of science and technology to sustainably use biogenic resources like bioenergy, biofertilizers, and bioplastics instead of fossil fuels can help to achieve SDG-2 (Sustainable food production), SDG-3 (Good health and well-being), SDG-7 (Affordable and clean energy), SDG-9 (Industry and Innovation), and SDG-13 (Climate action). The practices of resource efficient production system contribute to environmental sustainability and resilience and assist to meet SDG-13 (Climate action) and SDG-15 (Life on land). In addition, the productive usage of waste biomass and send back it to the production scheme add value to the supply chain by a circular economy that guides to achieve SDG-11 (Sustainable cities and communities) and SDG-12 (Responsible consumption and production). The innovative development of products, processes, and systems considering environmental benefits can lead to achieving SDG-9 (Industry and innovation), SDG-14 (Life below water), and SDG-15 (Sustainable use of land biodiversity). The recovery of degraded resources like soils, treatment of wastewater and input it to the production process by bioremediation will meet the SDG-6 (Clean water and sanitation), and SDG-15 (Prevention of soil degradation). Moreover, reindustrialization by using renewable resources and generation of bioproducts and bio services enhance the generation of new sources of decent work and sustainable economic growth (SDG-8).

European Union Bioeconomy Strategy

In 2012, the adoption of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy has activated many initiatives at the EU level in research and innovation activities. The sustainable production and consumption of goods and services are the key component of bioeconomy. Together with it is essential to well understand the demand and supply of biomass while bearing in mind the biosphere to ensure that bioeconomy operates within its boundaries and provide optimal benefits both socially and economically. In 2018, the EU Bioeconomy Strategy was updated and acknowledged particular resource limitations in our planet earth. In summary, the updated EU Bioeconomy Strategy is intimately linked to sustainable production and consumption and circular economy to address climate change, degradation of land and ecosystems, rising demand for food, feed, energy, and other relative challenges.

In the bioeconomy sector, already 8% of the workforce are employed in the EU and by 2030 around 1 million jobs can be generated from bio-based industries. Furthermore, bioeconomy reduces emissions as it replaces fossil resources and creates a new source of renewable biomass for food, feed, and energy. The activation of bio-based innovation in bioeconomy across Europe will renew agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, and forestry industries. In a study, it is found that the minimization of food waste can save up to €143 billion annually. Agri-food waste can be converted to biofuel and also biodegradable polymers for food packaging that later can be used as bio-fertilizer. The bioeconomy can restore 15% of the degraded ecosystem by 2020 and contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the European Union’s targets.

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Etamoni Chakma

Hi, I'm Etamoni Chakma, an environmental science professional and top-rated academic writer on Upwork. With my education and research experience, I aim to create informative and inspiring content advocating for environmental protection. My passion is to educate and encourage people to take action for the betterment of our planet.