Development is clearly hotting up in the industrial biotech area. The key is the increasing demand by consumers for sustainable methods of production. As Antonello Ciotto, commercial director of Equipolymers, told our Conference in Brussels this week, the major brand owners are forcing the pace on this issue:
Coca-Cola: “We are working to completely eliminate the use of non-renewable fossil fuels in our plastic bottles, while maintaining quality and reliability”
Nestle. “Leading in the development and use of packaging materials made from sustainably managed renewable resources such as bioplastics”
Toyota. “Green. That’s how we’d like the world to be. As an environmental leader, we do more than meet industry standards - we seek to raise them”
Individual companies such as Equipolymers and Novozymes are clearly already moving in the same direction.
Now Scotland has become the first country to develop a national strategy for the area. As Caroline Strain, head of chemical sciences at Scottish Enterprise has noted:
“The rise in global population, rapid depletion of resources, increasing environmental pressures and climate change are each driving the need to develop more sustainable manufacturing processes. Investing in industrial biotechnology (IB) can help us achieve that. Supporting more companies, both at home and overseas, to invest in IB technology in Scotland is a priority for us. Building on our existing strengths in this area, we aim to position Scotland as an international hub for IB excellence.”
The key is to look forward, not back. As Sandy Dobbie of Chemical Sciences Scotland added, “in 20 years time, the chemicals industry will be transformed by the increasing use of renewable feedstocks and bio-processing steps”.
Chemicals used to be made from coal, but then transitioned to oil and gas-based feedstocks. Today, most are made from these fossil fuels. But the world does not stand still, and industrial biotech is becoming a super-critical area. The blog congratulates the Scottish team on their forward-thinking, which is vital to building the chemical industry of the future.