23 Mai 2012

Future ambitions for a bio-based economy could test the amount of land sustainably available

The role of bioenergy, biofuels and bio-based products in global land use change

A new briefing document published by bioeconomy experts NNFCC explores the question do we have enough land to feed the planet and produce the low carbon energy, fuels and materials needed by a population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050?

Businesses are increasingly being judged on their ability to manage supply chains sustainably, and corporate social responsibility is now a crucial aspect of business development.

“For those working in bioenergy, biofuels or bio-based products, like bioplastics, land use change is a hugely important consideration, as the risks for making poor environmental and social choices are high,” says Dr Adrian Higson, Head of Biorefining at NNFCC.

“As the transition to a low carbon economy gathers speed, businesses need to be proactive rather than reactive to the changing marketplace, as the decisions they make now will determine their success in the future,” he adds.

If the bio-based economy continues to develop as expected, NNFCC projections suggest that by 2050 we are likely to use more than half of the land sustainably available for non-food crops, which would dramatically increase the competition for resources.

However, if growth is more intensive than currently anticipated we could exceed the amount of land sustainably available by more than 100 million hectares ‒ an area the size of Egypt.

To ensure we minimise the impact of bioenergy, biofuels and bio-based products on land use and food production we must take action now by:

  • Driving innovation in crop development and advanced processing technologies

  • Using more non-food feedstocks like wastes, agricultural residues, algae and lignocellulosic crops
  • Pushing policies towards sectors with limited alternatives

    • More Information

  • Click here to read the briefing document in full.
  • Talk to the Experts
    If you’d like to talk to us about how we can help your business, just call +44 (0)1904 435 182 or email enquiries@nnfcc.co.uk

Source: NNFCC, 2012-05-23.

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