World’s largest pension fund GPIF (Government Pension Investment Fund) of Japan is now supporting the Climate Action 100+ Initiative, adding further significant momentum in global growth of the investor-led corporate engagement initiative.
Enerkem Inc., a world-leading waste-to-biofuels and chemicals producer headquartered in Canada, has successfully produced a clean, renewable bio-dimethyl ether (Bio-DME), a by-product of biomethanol, that could help address global climate change efficiently by replacing the use of diesel fuel in the transportation sector.
Last Thursday’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement was short-sighted and contrary to the best interests of this country, not to mention disappointing and embarrassing.
It fails to respect the science on climate change. It abandons the best opportunity we have to protect the health and well-being of American families and our children’s future. It runs contrary to the advice of hundreds of business leaders and investors who want the U.S. to lean into climate action — not run away and bury our heads in the sand. And it neglects the wishes of nearly 70 percent of the American public who want strong actions to curb climate change.
There is a new Finnish initiative to educate children in bioeconomy and climate change. Neste Corporation has launched an international environmental exchange that is open to schools throughout Finland. Pupils in schools can exchange experiences of climate change with their counterparts in schools abroad. The schools selected for the exchange will be given an EduCycle game. It is an augmented reality game created by Neste that makes it clear what climate change means in practice.
The South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has approved four NexSteppe sorghum hybrids for commercial sale in country. Approved hybrids include both Malibu sweet sorghum and Palo Alto biomass sorghum hybrids. NexSteppe is a US company dedicated to pioneering the next generation of scalable, reliable, cost-effective and sustainable feedstock solutions for the biofuels, biopower, biogas and biobased products industries.
Yesterday, at COP22, in Marrakech (Morocco), a coalition of leading countries in the clean energy and the bioeconomy fields announced the launching of the Biofuture Platform, a new collective effort to accelerate development and scale up deployment of modern sustainable low-carbon alternatives to fossil based solutions in transport fuels, industrial processes, chemicals, plastics and other sectors.
Published “to take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress.”
We can borrow this mission statement written on the contents page of the first issue of The Economist, published by James Wilson in September 1843, to define exactly the reason that today, 173 years later, leads to the launch of The BioJournal.
The bioeconomy is alive and is set to grow. This is the strong message coming from Vicenza, Italy, where last Thursday and Friday was held the sixth edition of IFIB, the Italian Forum on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioeconomy.
About 300 participants. Among them some of the big global companies active in the bioeconomy: Braskem, Dow, Novamont, NatureWorks, Mossi Ghisolfi, Clariant, GFBiochemicals and Carlsberg. Innovative start-ups, universities and research centers, as well as clusters such as Clib2021 (Germany), IAR Pole (France) and Bio-based Delta (Netherlands). And again: OECD, European Investment Bank, German Bioeconomy Council.
“Sustainability – Rafael Cayuela, Chief Economist at Dow Chemical, stated – is a huge technological challenge but also the single largest business opportunity of this generation”.
Renmatix, the U.S. leader in affordable cellulosic sugars headquartered in King of Prussia (Pennsylvania), announced a $14 million investment, led by Bill Gates. Industry demand for competitive alternatives to petro-derived molecules is gaining traction, despite recent market pressures. In the interest of expanding that supply, the Plantrose® process provides an enabling technology for profitable biorefineries. This investment in commercializing Plantrose will help drive towards the first wave of Renmatix licensees building Plantrose-enabled biorefineries in diverse global markets like Canada, India, Malaysia, the U.S. and elsewhere. In parallel, that activity will facilitate further market development in downstream bioproduct applications.
“The government is working on a national bioeconomy strategy, which started with our new federal government attending the COPS meeting in Paris. Discussions and consultations are now taking place with the provinces and the Canadian public with the intent to have a federal strategy in draft form later this year.” To say it – in this long exclusive interview with Il Bioeconomista – is Murray McLaughlin, executive director of Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, who was recognized in the top 100 global leaders in the Advanced Bioeconomy at Biofuels Digest Conference in Washington, 2016. With him we talk about bioeconomy in Canada, climate change, biomass, Green public procurement, carbon tax and other policies. Murray McLaughlin has held various positions in the private, government and non-profit sectors such as director of Business Development for the Canadian Light Source, president of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies, deputy minister of Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food, and president of Ag-West Biotech Inc. He co-chairs the Industrial Bioproducts Value Chain Roundtable which is a partnership between Industry and AAFC for the bioeconomy. He is a graduate of Nova Scotia Agricultural College, McGill (B. Sc. Agr.) and Cornell (MSC and PhD), and has an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Dalhousie University.
Interview by Mario Bonaccorso