Forests and forestry play a key role in policy targets to achieve climate neutrality. In a comprehensive new European Forest Institute study, a multidisciplinary team of 12 authors from 7 countries have analysed how much forests and wood use can contribute to climate change mitigation, and how that contribution can be maximised.
“In my opinion the bioeconomy is an important concept currently missing in the Green Deal, and it should be connected to the circular economy concept (a main pillar of the Green Deal).” Marc Palahí, Director at EFI (European Forest Institute), talks to Il Bioeconomista. In this exclusive interview, he talks about pandemic and Green New Deal, forests and the role of cities and regions in the development of the EU bioeconomy.
Interview by Mario Bonaccorso
The need to react to the COVID-19 crisis is a unique opportunity to transform our economy and put forward the change that our society needs to create a sustainable and desirable future. A Circular Bioeconomy Roundtable convened by HRH The Prince of Wales last week discussed how this should be done: not just by designing recovery packages, but by transformative action to trigger mission-oriented innovation, attract investments and rethink business models and markets. Leading figures from science, the investment community and industry discussed how a circular bioeconomy offers game-changing solutions and is a crucial concept to move towards a carbon-neutral, renewable and inclusive economy that prospers in harmony with nature.
The European Forest Institute (EFI) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) plan to join forces on research including the role of sustainable forest management in achieving the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and to better connect science to policy action.
The two organizations on May 24 signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Barcelona, establishing a partnership to advance and communicate forest science and support sustainable development. The agreement will help put forests front and center on the global development agenda, according to Marc Palahí, Director of EFI, and Robert Nasi, Director General of CIFOR.
Climate change, population growth, soil degradation, biodiversity loss. These are the main challenges that humanity is called to face at the beginning of the millennium. The bioeconomy is one of the keys to tackling them and overcoming them, reconciling the economy, the environment and society. Based on the use of renewable biological resources as raw materials for industrial, energy, food and feed production, according to the European Union it has the potential to create at least one million jobs by 2030. The book that I wrote together with Irene Baños Ruiz aims at drawing a precise and up-to-date picture of the concept of bioeconomy, its origins, connections with sustainability and the circular economy and the multiple applications that we find in different products of our daily life.
I would like to thank particularly Philippe Mengal, executive director at BBI JU, and Marc Palahì, director at the European Forest Institute, who have written in a truly passionate way the foreword and the introduction of the book. Now “Che cosa è la bioeconomia” (What is the bioeconomy) is available only in Italian, soon also in English.
I would also like to thank all those who have accepted to be interviewed (Fabio Fava, Chris Patermann, Catia Bastioli, Massimo Centemero, Sandy Marshall, Mathieu Flamini, Jennifer Holmgren, Michael Carus and Frank Rijsberman) and in general all those who are making the sustainable and circular bioeconomy possible worldwide.
“We need to put emphasis in ensuring that the areas and actions identified in the new Bioeconomy Strategy are strategically integrated in other European policies and Programmes to ensure coherence, scale and synergies; CAP; Industrial Policy, European Investment Bank portfolio, Strategic Partnership for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement, etc.” To say it – in this exclusive interview with Il Bioeconomista – is Marc Palahí, director at the European Forest Institute. He talks with us, on his way to China, just after the publication of the updated EU bioeconomy strategy.
Interview by Mario Bonaccorso
“We need an ambitious and long-term bioeconomy policy framework to enable the creation of a Bioeconomy Single Market. The framework needs to ensure predictability to investors and companies, enhance risk-taking capacity and define priority pathways to move towards a low carbon economy, where a circular bioeconomy becomes a growth engine”. Marc Palahí, director of the European Forest Institute, talks to Il Bioeconomista. In this long and exclusive interview, released after the Second edition of the European Bioeconomy Summit, he talks about the next steps which are needed to place the bioeconomy at the core of the EU industrial, climate and sustainability agenda.
Interview by Mario Bonaccorso
“It’s time to deliver!” This is, extremely briefly, the message that comes from the second edition of the Bioeconomy Investment Summit, which was held in Helsinki last Thursday, December 14. In this invitation made at the opening of the summit by the former Swedish prime minister, Göran Persson, it can be synthesized the will of over 300 summit participants to move rapidly towards the creation of new markets for the bioeconomy and to accelerate the transition to a new, more sustainable economy, which finally could leave the GDP behind as an indicator of welfare of the countries. “From the sustainable perspective, GDP is a misleading measure of success”, said Robert Costanza, professor at the Australian National University.
“There would be a mainstreaming of the development of the bioeconomy over the next year, and its embedding in other policies. Bioeconomy can reach parts of society and economy that other policies can’t reach”. To say this was John Bell, Director for Bioeconomy at DG Research and Innovation, at the ThinkForest seminar which took place in Brussels last 7 November.
The second edition of the Bioeconomy Investment Summit will take place on 14-15 December in Helsinki, Finland, organized by the European Commission and the European Forest Institute. Over 30 speakers from across the globe will share their views on how we can bring together the economy and the environment. “New advances in technology – the organizers say – mean that everything that can be made out of oil can be made from renewable, biological resources. There are huge environmental and business opportunities for a wide range of industries: construction, chemicals, textiles, energy, plastics”.