Only then will it be possible to achieve the ambitious climate and biodiversity targets and create the next generation of globally competitive industries, according to the EFIB Vienna Declaration 2021. It was presented earlier this month at the European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology, the EFIB conference celebrating the 25th anniversary of EuropaBio.
Biotechnology in Europe contributed almost €80 billion in gross value added in 2018, generated 900,000 jobs and grew at an average rate of 4.1% per year, twice as fast as the overall EU economy (1.9%).
Europe has a world-class research and innovation ecosystem, but it needs to capitalise on the richness of innovation and take decisive action to scale up industry, states the Vienna Declaration. Failure to act boldly now on industrial upscale, risks Europe becoming a customer, rather
than a producer, of next generation sustainable products. This is at the cost to its own industrial
competitiveness and economic development. An evolution is therefore needed from niche to large-scale organic production systems across sectors, integrated into process industries, manufacturing and recycling.
To facilitate this, the European Union institutions and Member States need to establish a regulatory and market framework that encourages long-term investment and the growth of its science and business base. For example, the EU should
- modernise the GMO (genetically modified organism) legislation;
- educate citizens on the role of advanced solutions and technologies in their daily lives and in meeting climate and environmental targets;
- mobilise EU funding mechanisms to help commercialise new bio-based technologies and processes across Europe.
These are not issues that can wait, according to the authors of the declaration. The clock is ticking and the race to reduce CO2 emissions by 55% has begun worldwide, with less than 10 years to go.
The full statement is available on the EFIB website.
Image: Billion Photos/Shutterstock