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National bioeconomy strategy for a sustainable, circular and strong economy

A sustainable way of life and economy protects the climate and the environment, but also guarantees future prosperity. That is why Germany is relying on the expansion of the bioeconomy. Today, Wednesday, the Federal Cabinet adopted the National Bioeconomy Strategy. The federal government is bundling its previous bioeconomy activities and setting the course for further development. The Federal Ministry of Research and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture will be in charge of this.

Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek: “Not least climate change is forcing us to rethink. We have to do everything to preserve our livelihoods while remaining economically strong. The bioeconomy is a key to both. Therefore, with the new bioeconomy strategy, we want to make even greater use of biological resources, processes and systems in all areas of the economy. The strategy clearly focuses on sustainability. We will specifically promote innovations that keep an eye on the climate, the environment and the load limits of our ecosystems. A sustainable economy not only helps us to achieve our global sustainability goals, but also secures us a top position in the markets of the future in the long term. "

Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner: “There is a future in the bioeconomy - especially for agriculture and forestry. As central producers of raw materials, our farmers are the pillars of the strategy. Because while we have to import a lot of fossil raw materials, renewable ones are growing around the corner from us. In our meadows, fields and in the forests, "emphasizes Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner." Tires made from dandelions, car doors made from hemp fibers or rubber boots made from corn. These are just a few examples that illustrate the potential and practical relevance in research. By developing the current overall strategy, we can now provide even better support in the development and implementation of such projects and better interlink processes and actors. In a bioeconomy council, we also want to discuss the limits and conflicting goals of the bioeconomy with the involvement of society. For example, the increasing demand for renewable raw materials must not endanger food security. "

The core objective of the National Bioeconomy Strategy is a sustainable, circular and highly innovative German economy. The new strategy sets the framework for the successful expansion of the bioeconomy over the next few years. Future research funding will focus on expanding biological knowledge and using biological processes and systems. In connection with digitization and cutting-edge technologies across all disciplines, new potentials for a sustainable economy are to be tapped. At the same time, more biogenic raw materials can be made available for industry. They will replace fossil raw materials and create new sustainable products.

In order to efficiently conserve biogenic raw materials, new concepts for circular use are important. Due to their natural properties, renewable raw materials are particularly suitable for cycles and should thus reduce the consumption of resources. In order to strengthen the development of a sustainable bioeconomy internationally, the close interlinking with the economy and cross-border cooperation is to be expanded. In order for the bioeconomy to take effect, it must above all meet social requirements and needs. It is therefore important to have an open discussion and to involve all social groups. That is why bioeconomy is the theme of the Science Year 2020.

The bundling of the federal government's bioeconomy policy in an overall strategy serves to combine the previous goals and measures even more closely than before. The National Bioeconomy Strategy will make an important contribution to the implementation of the “From Biology to Innovation” agenda agreed in the coalition agreement, the so-called “Bio-Agenda”.


Background - what is bioeconomy?

The bioeconomy is defined as an economy that uses biological resources, processes and systems. These resources include plants, microorganisms and fungi, but above all knowledge of the biological relationships as a whole. On this basis, products, processes and services are developed and used in various economic sectors. This is how, for example, new chemicals, materials and building materials or drugs are created. Often biogenic raw materials replace fossil raw materials. They are seen as more sustainable because they are renewable and especially recyclable.

In recent years it has been shown that digitization and other new technologies create further possibilities to make biological systems and processes usable for humans. This turns biological systems into models for sustainable innovations.

The Federal Government has so far supported the change from an economy based largely on fossil raw materials to a circular and bio-based economy in two closely interlinked strategies: The "National Research Strategy BioEconomy 2030", adopted in 2010, was implemented and put in place by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) the basis for innovations in the bioeconomy through research and development. Over 2000 research projects were funded with around one billion euros. With the “National Bioeconomy Policy Strategy” published in 2013 under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), strategic approaches and measures were defined to accelerate the structural change to a bioeconomy, for example by adapting framework conditions.

The basis of the new bioeconomy strategy is an agenda process initiated by the BMBF for the further development of the national research strategy, the evaluation of the research strategy and recommendations of the bioeconomy council. In addition, the progress report on the implementation of the National Bioeconomy Policy Strategy, which was drawn up under the leadership of the BMEL, was taken into account.