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Bio-based firms step up to help global fight against coronavirus

“We do see promising signs indicating a more structural shift in thinking the current situation provides an opportunity to reevaluate practices and may accelerate positive changes that have already been in motion i.e. logistics and transportation.”

More and more bio-based companies across the globe are stepping up their efforts to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19 is continuing to spread globally and its impacts upon human health and the economy is intensifying day-by-day.

Last week, Bio Market Insights highlighted how the bio-based sector was coping with the crisis. Some businesses were helping with technological solutions to help fight the outbreak, while others appeared to see growing demand for products like biodegradable takeaway packaging.

Since then, more and more companies have stepped up to provide solutions to help combat Covid-19.

Spanish technological centre LEITAT (Acondicionamiento Tarrasense Asociación) has led the development of 3D-printed ventilators to help hospitals deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.

LEITAT is the beneficiary of two Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU [@BBI20]) projects. According to the BBI JU, LEITAT has started to produce this critical medical equipment and expects to deliver the first units to the hospitals in the Barcelona area by the end of the week. The medical authorities in Spain have already approved the use of these ventilators. Big companies from the automotive, naval and aeronautical industry will join LEITAT in the production, while they will also welcome individual volunteers to 3D-print the pieces at home. The technological centre plans to produce 50 to 100 units per day.

US biochemicals company Aemetis (@aemetis) announced that its 65 million gallon per year ethanol plant near Modesto, California has begun shipments of 200 proof alcohol for use in the production of hand sanitiser.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) created exemptions allowing certain alcohol fuel permit holders to sell ethanol (alcohol) for use in the production of hand sanitisers.  With this federal government waiver, Aemetis is now supplying hand sanitiser producers with alcohol to address the significant shortage created by the worldwide spread of Covid-19.

Elsewhere, sustainable footwear company Allbirds (@allbirds) is offering a free pair of shoes to those working for the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK and for health professionals working in the US.

H&M, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, said on Sunday it was planning to supply protective equipment to hospitals to help tackle the spread of the coronavirus.

“H&M Group is now quickly arranging for its supply chain to produce personal protective equipment to be provided to hospitals and health care workers,” a spokesperson told online news channel Reuters.

Fashion for Good (@fashionforgood), a platform for sustainable fashion innovation, analysed the impact of the coronavirus situation on the fashion ecosystem and what it meant for sustainability efforts. A spokesman told Bio Market Insights: “Traditionally, in times when the top and bottom lines are under pressure, investments into longer term projects with no immediate positive top or bottom line impact are the first to be cut. This is particularly true for companies that are publicly listed, for which short term performance will remain a key priority. And the coronavirus crisis could lead to that, although this is likely to be temporary in nature.

“We do see promising signs indicating a more structural shift in thinking. The current situation provides an opportunity to reevaluate practices and may accelerate positive changes that have already been in motion i.e. logistics and transportation. Increasingly more industry leaders recognise the urgent need for responsible practices, as demanded by consumers and investors and as regulatory pressure grows. For many pioneering brands, investments in sustainability and innovation are of high strategic importance and therefore budget cuts could negatively affect financial performance in the future.”

Bio Market Insights has set up a special coronavirus page on its site to highlight the great work being done by the bio-based sector. Please be sure to check it out. How is covid-19 impacting on you? Please send your thoughts and views to

If you were interested in this bioeconomy story, you may also be interested in the ones below.

Read: Bio-based sector sees mixed coronavirus impact

Read: Starbucks temporarily bans reusable cups over coronavirus concerns

Read: Starbucks unveils trials for compostable cups

Read: Ginkgo Bioworks to use $290m Series E financing to boost cell programming platform.

Read: Ginkgo Bioworks invests $80m in Synlogic.

Read: Gingko Bioworks spin-out firm Motif Ingredients rebrands and raises $27.5m to boost animal-free ingredients R&D.

Read: Disruptive technology investor invests in bean-free coffee start-up.

Read:  Novalis LifeSciences raises $85m for its first fund and will invest in life science industry, including synthetic biology companies.

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