WWF endorses industrial biotech

Environmental group WWF is giving a green thumbs-up approval to industrial biotechnology stating that not only could it reduce up to 2.5 billion tons/year of CO2 emissions by 2030, it could also help create a true 21st century green economy.

“Low carbon biotech solutions are a good example of hidden or invisible climate solutions that are all around us already today but are easy to overlook for policymakers, investors and companies.” says John Kornerup Bang, Head of Globalization Program at WWF Denmark and coauthor of the report.

The report, which was peer-reviewed by Danish enzyme producer Novozymes (and other experts according to the company) outlines key areas where industrial biotech can reduce emissions: industrial processing efficiency; fossil fuels substitution; materials substitution; and waste recycling.

The need for strong public policies was also emphasized. Novozymes says close to 200 biorefineries are already operating in the US.

“In a few years sugar will be the new oil,” says Steen Riisgaard, CEO of Novozymes. “Industrial biotechnology today is a sector with a number of pioneers who are demonstrating that this is technically feasible. However, to make the biobased economy into reality, they will require political backing.”

The market share of biotechnology-produced biobased chemicals is still very small, according to the report. Biobased polymers, for example, account for less then 0.1% of polymer production.

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