“The agricultural and forestry industries and the communities and the ecosystems that support them will ensure greater commercialisation of the processes and products.”
Canada and Italy have promoted their national bioeconomy strategies to help meet their climate change and circular economy goals. Both countries unveiled their bioeconomy plans last Tuesday (14 May).
Last week, the Canadian government announced that it had invested C$200,000 in Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, a not-for-profit business accelerator based in Sarnia, Ontario, to support the development of a national bioeconomy strategy.
Canada’s first national bioeconomy strategy aims to help meet the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, greenhouse gases and attract additional markets to the biomass and bioproduct sectors.
According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the funding will allow Canadian farmers with opportunities to diversify their commodities and develop new uses for crops.
The strategy will also provide the opportunity to work with other sectors, including forestry, to help meet Canada’s agriculture growth plans for a greener economy.
The funding is being awarded via the Canadian Agricultural Adaption Program.
Adoption of bio-based processes
Sandy Marshall, Executive Director at Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, said that the industry-supported bioeconomy strategy will establish clear roles for the Canadian government to provide the regulatory operating environment and infrastructure necessary to the adoption of bio-based processes and products.
He added: “The agricultural and forestry industries and the communities and the ecosystems that support them will ensure greater commercialisation of the processes and products. The focus on renewable resources and on innovation in the bioeconomy are central to the achievement of the circular economy.”
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau said having a strategy in place will provide new opportunities for farmers and strengthen and diversify Canada’s agricultural sector.
Canada is not short of biomass. The country has a remarkable 3.47 million square kms of forested land – that’s 9%of the world’s forests.
Earlier this year, Bio Market Insights reported that a number of companies that specialised with bio-based materials were already active in the Canadian bioeconomy.
One such company is EcoSynthetix, who won Bio Market Insights’ Bio-Based Chemical Innovation of the Year (Americas) 2017 for their bio-based alternatives to a host of products, in particular within the paper and paperboard packaging industries.
Updated bioeconomy strategy
Canada is not the only country to recently boost its national bioeconomy, Italy has also revealed plans to promote its strategy and has revised it.
Originally started in 2016, it has officially been updated and was unveiled at an event held by the Presidency of Council of Ministers of Italy in Rome on 14 May.
In its bioeconomy strategy, the Italian National Committee for Biosafety, Biotechnology and Sciences of Life said that the main objective of the initiative was to increase the current Italian bioeconomy turnover (currently around €330 billion per year) and jobs (around 2 million) by 15% by 2030, while increasing the level of circularity in the economy.
More specifically, Italy wants to interconnect and increase the productivity of the sectors that make up the bioeconomy such as agriculture, livestock, forests, fisheries and aquaculture.
Consequently, this would allow Italy to increase its competitiveness and role in promoting sustainable growth in Europe and in the Mediterranean basin, according to the Italian National Committee.
Speaking at the launch of the strategy in Rome, Giancarlo Giorgetti, Undersecretary to the Presidency of the Council, said the document was an “important step for our bioeconomy, today third in Europe after Germany and France”, according to news agency ANSA.
He explained that the strategy was a “necessary adaptation to the European strategy” with a “supporting coordination private and public clusters”.
According to ANSA, Giovanni De Santi, Director for Sustainable Development of the European Commission, added that the Italian strategy was “ambitious” and the Commission “liked” it. However, he also acknowledged that only nine countries in Europe had currently adopted national bioeconomy strategies.