Bioeconomy experts and policymakers meet for discussion
On 4 and 5 December, some 250 stakeholders from science, business, politics and administration convened at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in Berlin at the invitation of the German government’s Bioeconomy Council. This year's Bioeconomy Forum aimed to address the Council's recommendations for action – especially for the implementation of the National Bioeconomy Strategy – and to discuss in an interdisciplinary and intergenerational manner how to best support a rapid transformation of the economy and society.
German Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger and German Economics Minister Robert Habeck opened the event. Stark-Watzinger highlighted that the BMBF is one of many bioeconomy locations in the country and that her ministry’s task is to move this promising field forward into the future. Habeck stressed the need to design the framework conditions in such a way that the bioeconomy can be advanced at a fast pace, for example through the concept of closed cycles and the implementation of cascade utilisation. In addition, existing technology must be scaled up to an industrial level as quickly as possible. Adequate financial support is also needed to expedite the move away from the use of fossil energy sources in the manufacturing of products.
Viola Bronsema, Managing Director of BIO Deutschland and member of the Bioeconomy Council, introduced the topic “Sustainable biotechnological innovations as a contribution to climate protection”, outlining the opportunities that biotechnology offers in the context of the aims of the German government’s strategy for the future.
German Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir opened the second day of the forum. For him and his ministry, the “food-first” principle is paramount and must be consistently applied while considering planetary boundaries. The use of renewable raw materials must go hand in hand with socio-ecological improvements. He also stressed the importance of taking the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems into account, saying that the bioeconomy has the responsibility of promoting the well-being of farmers, the environment and the climate, while also preserving the natural resources for future generations.