Bioeconomy summarizes all economic sectors that are involved in the production, processing and use of biological resources (plants, animals, microorganisms) for the production of food and feed, the provision of biomass as resources and the production of bio-based chemicals and materials and bioenergy.
As a knowledge-based bioeconomy, a sustainable use of limited resources must be achieved by integrated application of knowledge about biological resources and processes. The economic, ecological and social aspects of sustainability are thereby also taken into account, for example to protect against the progression and adaption to climate change and demographic change.
Sustainable bioeconomy for the 21st century
Since the concept of the knowledge-based bioeconomy (KBBE) was first published in Europe in 2005, the vision of bioeconomy has found its way into the strategic planning of leading countries worldwide. In 2020, already 54 countries had launched policy strategies relevant to bioeconomy.
Recent strategies are increasingly aligned with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 2015. The concepts and solutions of a sustainable bioeconomy contribute to thirteen of the seventeen SDGs.
In Europe, both the EU Member States and the European Commission have made far-reaching commitments with regard to a sustainable bioeconomy. It now plays an essential role in various EU strategies and implementation guidelines and is an integral part of European research funding. It also has a driving role in the development of a circular economy. The “European Green Deal” adopted by the new European Council in December 2019 aims at numerous guidelines of the bioeconomy.
Germany is playing an international pioneering role in the development of political and research strategies for the bioeconomy. The federal government set up the National Bioeconomy Council in 2009, which has since then been advising politics. The federal government's high-tech strategy has long been addressing numerous aspects of research for a future bioeconomy. After the National Research Strategy Bioeconomy 2030 (BMBF, 2010) and the National Policy Strategy Bioeconomy (BMEL, 2013), the federal government published the National Bioeconomy Strategy in January 2020, which bundles the previous activities. In order to promote an open discussion and to address and involve all social groups, bioeconomy was selected as the topic of the Science Year 2020/21.