The World BioEconomy Forum Declaration 2022
The World Bioeconomy Forum
Published on 8 September 2022 in Ruka, Kuusamo
In our first World BioEconomy Forum in Ruka, Finland in 2018, we stated that our ultimate mission was to establish a cohesive and well formulated roadmap that serves to enable and consolidate a bioeconomy that is recognized as a coordinated entity. This year, for our fifth World BioEconomy Forum, it is time for us to walk the talk.
What we have achieved in short four years:
- We have established the World BioEconomy Forum as a credible and acknowledged global platform for key stakeholders in the sustainable circular bioeconomy to gather, exchange views, and formulate the next steps needed to position the bioeconomy as part of the solution to address climate change and to achieve SDGs, while respecting the rights of the local and indigenous communities.
- The World BioEconomy Forum has scaled up the dialogue between stakeholders for promoting the bioeconomy as a business model for local, national and global economies
- The World Bioeconomy Forum has created four Declarations to help shape the global agenda in bioeconomy and communicated them in other global platforms to engage more stakeholders in both the global North and South.
It is hard to imagine the pace of change we are facing. In the past few years, we have been forced to change our business as usual by the severity of the COVID global pandemic, which stressed how the world’s inequality has not been adequately addressed. Meanwhile, earlier this year, leading scientists concluded that in addition to climate change, land system change, biosphere integrity and biochemical flows, humanity has exceeded planetary boundaries related to green-water, environmental pollutants and other “novel entities” including plastics.
This is where the World BioEconomy Forum can play an important role by engaging the private sector and policy makers to develop and implement the bioeconomy as a multidimensional tool to keep within the planetary boundaries, help secure global net zero by mid-century, and keep 1.5 degrees within reach.
The World BioEconomy Forum will be able to walk the talk by promoting more sustainable investments in renewable resources and to support the COP 26 Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use: to work collectively to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030, while delivering sustainable climate resilience development and promoting inclusive rural transformation.
During 2022 we also witnessed the emergence of a new global crisis as the war in Ukraine poses severe challenges for energy and food supplies that are likely to affect efforts to further combat climate change. While the longer-term consequences for bioeconomy development are uncertain, the immediate impacts are certainly counterproductive. At present, we can only hope that an end to this war can be reached.
Bioeconomy resonates perfectly well with the objectives of sustainable growth and environmental conservation. It encompasses as many as 12 of the 17 Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) released by UNFCCC. Further, the bioeconomy also facilitates the fulfilment of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as committed in the landmark COP 26 climate change summit held in Glasgow. Therefore, harnessing the bioeconomy has emerged as a promising solution to help combat climate change effectively.
When it comes to employment, digital technology disruptions across industry segments are resulting in job losses; going forward, it is expected that humans will only do a few jobs better than robots. We believe the next industrial revolution 5.0, will usher in cobots (collaborative robots) in which humans will do transformational work and keep our consciousness whereas robots will do tactical work, including work encompassing the bioeconomy.
The Four-Pillar Structure of the World BioEconomy Forum
The Forum strictly operates under the Four-Pillar Structure:
I The Bioeconomy: People, Planet, Policies
II Global Leaders and the Financial World
III Bioproducts Around Us
IV Looking to the Future
Using the Four-Pillar Structure enables the complete evaluation of the status of the circular bioeconomy and thereby facilitates developments across the whole of the sector. This makes the Forum and its activities extremely powerful and effective, enabling the facilitating of a holistic bioeconomy and thus making significant conjoined efforts in the mitigation of climate change.
All Forum programs and activities are aligned with the Four-Pillar Structure, including all Roundtables and the annual Declaration. This four-pillar structure ensures that all relevant stakeholders in the circular bioeconomy have a voice and a platform.
The Bioeconomy: People, Planet, Policies
1. We support the role of bioeconomies to be strongly enhanced in global trade policy forming frames and other economy and policy mechanisms
- We can note that there is missing knowledge on the potential of the bioeconomy and an overall lack of coherent policy frameworks for the bioeconomy in international organizations forming and implementing trade policies, for example: WTO, G20, G7 etc. Interesting features on the role of the bioeconomy can however be found in OECD and FAO, and less in UNCTAD.
- We believe that getting bioeconomy strategies in full force requires more bioeconomy acknowledgement and knowlege by, and within, organizations forming trade policies.
- The World Bioeconomy Forum might offer an interesting platform to fill this gap.
2. We support and encourage societies and governments, including local ones, to convey strategies into implementation
- We do see a steadily growing number of multinational, national and regional bioeconomy strategies worldwide already composed and further developing
- We do recognize diversity of the biostrategies, which brings opportunities to learn from each other
- In several cases we have noted that funding and other “soft skills” of the bioeconomy, for example education, training, communication and marketing are at least only marginally or partially embedded
- We are encouraging bioeconomy strategies to be lifted to implementation by more concrete accountable action plans as integral parts of the strategies. In all these cases the World Bioeconomy Forum might offer new opportunities to assist.
Corporate Leaders and the Financial World
3. We invite corporate leaders to join in the efforts to have bioeconomy, its operations and products, recognized as an important tool in the decarbonization of the economy
- The main raw materials of the bioeconomy industries are considered and accounted for as carbon sinks – as such, their resulting products should have the same approach
- We call on the players in the bioeconomy to address a message to UNFCC asking for acknowledgement of the role of bio-based products in reducing carbon emissions
- If consumers are called into actions for mitigating climate change, they must be informed of the effectiveness of bio-based products as an effective substitute to fossil-based products
- We favour the sharing of companies’ best practices to increase the visibility of the bioeconomy as a contribution to scale up decarbonization of the economy
4. We encourage the financial world to diversify financial vehicles on nature-based investments
- Several innovative technologies in the bioeconomy need financial support en-route on their journey to commercialization.
- Green funding can facilitate research, setting up pilot/demonstration facilities, and assistance until economies of scale kick in for financial viability.
- The financial world has an important role in incubating technology start-ups helping develop a resilient ecosystem in the bioeconomy.
- Although policy matters, regulatory measures must enable short, medium and long term sustainable investments
Bioproducts around us
5. We encourage companies and institutes to seek innovative bioproduct applications which are safe, healthy and high performing
- We embolden companies and institutes to encompass safety and healthy targets embedded in the product and service design
- We spur companies and institutes to seek innovative and performance driven bioproducts with new features
- The Forum provides a platform for companies and institutions to share their bioeconomy journey towards ecological, safety, healthy and performance targets for society – we learn together
6. We support long-lasting bioproducts to provide alternatives to fossil-based options
- We are actively promoting awareness of bio-based products to help stakeholders and ultimately consumers evolve their preferences for sustainable, renewable, recyclable and biodegradable bioproducts
- We organize campaigns, for instance #bioproductday to engaged stakeholders to share their own narrative on bioproducts and thus jointly enhance general awareness on what kind of products and services the bioeconomy provides
- Transition to a green economy is under way – turbulence in society is speeding up developments towards bio-based solutions
- We support the use of biobased products as alternatives to fossil-based options in:
- Single use plastics/materials i.e. packaging, contributing to carbon neutrality
- Long-lasting or recyclable biobased polymers contributing to carbon sinks
Looking to the Future
7. The circular bioeconomy needs to get acknowledged as an additional policy tool in climate change mitigation
- Current regulated compliance markets are mainly focusing on curbing carbon emissions and offsetting
- The World BioEconomy Forum proposes that bioeconomy tools need to be implemented and incorporated in climate change policy tools
- The World BioEconomy Forum proposes that the potential of the bioeconomy should be aligned in the upcoming COP conventions
8. Voluntary carbon markets (VCM) should include carbon credits applied for bio-based products
- The current value of VCM is around US$2 billion and is expected to grow up to tens of billions by 2030 affecting land use and forests’ role. VCM markets are complex and non-uniform without comparable standards or norms
- Currently carbon credits are applied to avoidance and removal offsets capitalized by deploying forests as carbons stocks and sinks
- Carbon credits or carbon markets can help sustainable bioproducts to be an economical solution even with price preference and be available to the customers at a rate par with current products.
- The World Bioeconomy Forum proposes bioproducts substitution effects to be implemented and incorporated as carbon credits