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The World Life Sciences Forum, BioVision 2005 Reporting Session Industry & Environment The World Life Sciences Forum, BioVision 2005 BIOINDUSTRY & ENVIRONMENT Science DR. RITA COLWELL DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND & THE JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY

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The World Life Sciences Forum, BioVision 2005

Reporting Session

Industry & Environment


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The World Life Sciences Forum, BioVision 2005

BIOINDUSTRY & ENVIRONMENT

Science

DR. RITA COLWELL

DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND & THE JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY

FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

Society

DR. MICHAEL OBORNE

DIRECTOR, MULTI-DISCIPLINARY ISSUES, INTERNATIONAL FUTURES PROGRAMME, OECD

Industry

MR. FEIKE SIJBESMA

MANAGING BOARD OF DIRECTORS, DSM

CHAIRMAN, EuropaBio


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The World Life Sciences Forum, BioVision 2005


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BioVision 2005, Bioindustry & Environment

What is white biotech?


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BioVision 2005, Bioindustry & Environment

What is the rationale for applying white biotechnology?

  • Macrotrends (e.g., urbanization, industrialization, increasing consumption, unstable oil & gas markets) put…

  • … environment, health and society under increasing pressure (e.g., degradation of natural habitats, global warming, environment associated diseases, depletion of fossil resources)

    • Need for more sustainable industrial production!

  • White biotechnology has demonstrated to provide benefits along the triple P of sustainability

    • Planet: less fossil resources, less emissions, less energy

    • People: better quality of life, rural development

    • Profit: lower cost, innovative new products, jobs


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BioVision 2005, Bioindustry & Environment

Where do we stand today? (1/2)

  • Already today industrialized countries benefit from white biotechnology in many different ways, e.g.,

    • Biofuels: 1-2% of transportation fuel needs through bio-ethanol & bio-diesel, growing 20% annually. First biomass-to-fuel plant

    • Biomaterials: first biodegradable plastics from renewable raw materials on the market at competitive cost (e.g., packaging)

    • Biochemicals: selected chemical syntheses (e.g., vitamines and antibiotics) transferred to cleaner and cheaper bioroutes

    • Bioactives: enzymes contributed to many greener processes and better products (e.g., detergents, paper, textiles, food, feed and bioremediation) saving approx. 20 MTon CO2 annually

  • Overall: approx. 3- 5% of chemical production is now based on white biotech


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BioVision 2005, Bioindustry & Environment

Where do we stand today? (2/2)

  • Science & technology: Tremendous progress in basic science and technologies, but continued investment required in particular towards economical applications

  • Public acceptance: Increasing buy-in from consumer and environmental organization (e.g., German Green Party, NRDC), but lack of general understanding not to be underestimated

  • Regulatory situation: Substantial hurdles remain especially in EU (e.g., long approval times, high sugar costs)

  • Industry: Significant activity around profitable incremental applications, but investments in long-term breakthrough technologies need more stimulation

  • Developing countries: Struggling with access to IP and funds to adapt and apply technologies locally


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BioVision 2005, Bioindustry & Environment

What are the concerns expressed about white biotech?

  • Although general support for white biotech was expressed, the concerns raised need to be addressed

    • Use of land and water for large scale bio based production

    • Level of containment and environmental release of genetically modified bugs

    • Insufficient return on investments

    • Increasing inequalities between developed and developing countries


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BioVision 2005, Bioindustry & Environment

Where do we want to be in 10-20 years?

  • White biotechnology incorporated into societal activities and contributing to science and industry

  • Maximize benefits in a bio-based economy, e.g.,

    • Biofuels play significant role in future energy mix especially through cellulosic biomass conversion (not competing with food)

    • Industrial processes switched to bioroutes and biorefineries where it makes economical and environmental sense

    • Innovative bioproducts provide new benefits to consumers (e.g., health ingredients, improved detergents, biodefense)

    • White biotech applications invented and adopted into developing countries’ industry, health and environment

    • Exploration of biodiversity and symbiosis with other technologies (e.g., nanotech, ag science, IT) to take advantage of new discoveries

    • Understanding of biocomplexity and complexity of ecological systems

  • Significant contribution to improving environment and health


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BioVision 2005, Bioindustry & Environment

How do we get there?

  • Continued investment in basic research facilitating new discoveries

  • Increased private and public investments in application & product development

  • Industry leadership by actively searching and pursuing existing opportunities (rather than “wait and see” approach)

  • Political leadership and support for appropriate regulatory and economic conditions acknowledging that benefits materialize over the longer term

  • Balance precautionary principle with benefits of new technologies

  • Encourage public debate involving citizens on all levels in discussions, using multiple approaches for educating the public, and focusing on tangible and meaningful arguments


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