WHAT IS BIOECONOMY?
- Refers to all economic activity that is derived from the continued commercial application of biotechnology.
- Encompasses the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food, feed, chemicals, energy and healthcare wellness products via innovative and efficient technologies.
- The vast socio-economic potential offered by bioeconomy has spurred countries such as United States, EU Countries, South Africa, China, Australia, Canada, Finland and Russia to launch bioeconomy initiatives.
- Malaysia is the 2nd in Asia after China and the 1st in ASEAN to establish its own national bioeconomy initiative.
- As of 2015, bioeconomy as a whole is estimated at 11.3 per cent of the total Malaysian GDP, a contribution equivalent to RM131 billion. This value encompasses economic impact from all sectors of economy that could possibly benefit from application of bio-based technology, like agriculture, chemical production, as well as oil and fat processing.
- At a stimulated 15% annual growth, the size of the Malaysian Bioeconomy sector is projected to grow to RM149.1 billion in 2020 and RM181.2 billion in 2030 respectively.
The first Global Bioeconomy Summit, held in Berlin from 24 to 26 November 2015, was developed by an International Advisory Committee and tabled at the Summit.
A community of experts and stakeholders from more than 50 countries, met in Berlin to review the state of bioeconomy in different parts of the world and to identify opportunities for accelerated transition to a more biobased economy, i.e., an economy that fulfills criteris of ecological and social sustainability.
Bioeconomy is defined in different ways around the world. There is no unified definition but note that an understanding of “bioeconomy as the knowledge-based production and utilisation of biological resources, innovative biological processes and principles to sustainably provide goods and services across all economic sectors” is shared by many.
The world has benefited tremendously from the evolution of biotechnology and its applications in industry. Over the past two decades, countries across the globe have substantially increased their economic outputs in an environmentally conscious manner through commercial applications of biotechnology and life sciences. The increasing use of biotechnology in primary production, healthcare and industry has led to a strategic interest in the development of a bio-based economy, or bioeconomy.
Broadly speaking, a bioeconomy is the sustainable production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food, feed, chemicals, energy, and healthcare and wellness products via innovative and efficient technologies. In addition to biotechnology, the bioeconomy encompasses all industries and economic sectors that produce, manage and utilise biological resources. This includes agriculture, forestry, fishery, food production, healthcare, chemicals and renewable energy.
In addition to being a key contributor to economic growth, the bioeconomy benefits society via breakthroughs in agricultural productivity, discoveries in healthcare and the adoption of sustainable industrial processes, while helping to meet the most pressing global challenges, such as increasing global populations, food scarcity, the depletion of fossil fuels and natural resources, and tightening environmental pressures and climate change. It is thus becoming the focal point of public policymakers, corporate leaders, researchers as well as world governments.