By 2015, virtually all new drugs, about half of global production of the world’s major crops, and an increasing number of everyday products (e.g., food additives, plastics, fuels, and detergents) will be produced using biotechnology, according to a new report from the OECD.
However, the huge potential of the future “bioeconomy” could fall victim to the current economic crisis, unless governments act to support the biotech industry more vigorously, particularly in the fields of agriculture and energy. Today, only 6% of business biotechnology R&D expenditure in the OECD is related to agriculture and industry, even though 75% of the potential economic contribution of biotechnology is in these two areas.
The diversity of biotechnology is overlooked
“Governments have traditionally invested a lot in the pharmaceutical industry and with good reason. However, they tend to overlook other areas of biotechnology. Industrial biotechnology can help mitigate climate change, create jobs, and boost the green economy,” says Per Falholt, CSO of Novozymes, a Danish-based supplier of industrial and agricultural biosolutions.
Novozymes strongly supports the conclusions of a new OECD report, The Bioeconomy to 2030: Designing a Policy Agenda, which examines the role of biotechnology in the global economy over the next two decades and outlines policies that could maximize its benefits.
One of the main recommendations of the OECD report is that governments use green stimulus packages to focus on alternative energy and sustainable agriculture.
More information on the OECD report is available at www.oecd.org/futures/bioeconomy/2030.