Menu image/svg+xml

Change in perspective Bioeconomy – for more sustainability A dialogue project in the science year 2020/2021

With the bioeconomy topic, the German science year 2020/2021 was dedicated to the transformation from an oil-based to a bio-based form of economy. In times of a rapidly growing world population, dwindling biodiversity and irreversible climate changes, the sustainable use of biological resources - i.e. plants, animals and microorganisms - is of particular importance. However, the use of biological resources instead of fossil ones does not make the bioeconomy per se better for the environment. On the contrary: to operate within planetary boundaries, the bioeconomy must be intentionally aligned with sustainable development criteria – both with regard to land use and consumption patterns. 

How can this perspective become more prominent in the bioeconomy debate? Specifically: What contribution to sustainable development can be expected from the bioeconomy? And where does it possibly conflict with goals regarding the use of natural resources, climate mitigation, and nature conservation? The IÖW, together with partners, invited to this change of perspective in the science year 2020/2021 - bioeconomy and initiated various dialogue formats between science, civil society, citizens and practitioners.

The goal: to convey the diverse interrelationships of the bioeconomy with other topics to societal actors and to critically reflect on them. The formats: three regional online workshops with interested citizens, representatives of civil society, science, and practice in Baden-Württemberg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Berlin-Brandenburg. These workshops and subsequent in-depth formats offered the opportunity to critically examine the bioeconomy from a regional perspective. In addition, the project included an online workshop with young scientists and representatives of civil society as well as an online panel discussion. Representatives of the German “Global Fields” of the “Zukunftsstiftung Landwirtschaft” were also involved in some of the formats. The findings and open research questions from the project were presented at a final event and discussed with a panel of experts from politics, science, civil society and the public.

The IÖW prepared scientific background materials for the questions raised in the workshops and presented them to the participants. Among them were findings on the cultivation and utilisation of biological resources, competition for land and biomass use, as well as on various technologies, concepts and processes for the utilisation of raw materials, including their impacts on humans and the environment. For this purpose, a 6-page information flyer and various 2-page information sheets were published (see below). The IÖW was further responsible for the conception and implementation of the regional online workshops and designed the final event together with the project partners.

Download background materials:

•  Info flyer “How sustainable is the bioeconomy really?” (PDF, 7 MB) [German]
•  Info sheet „Strengthening regional value chains“ (PDF, 0,9 MB) [German]
•  Info sheet „Change utilizations, consume less resources“ (PDF, 1,4 MB) [German]
•  Info sheet „Share and redistribute“ (PDF, 2,7 MB, ed. BUND) [German]

Further materials by the project partner BUND can be found here: 

•    Podcast „Bioeconomy – Model for the future or empty promise?“ [German]
•    Educational video „How sustainable is the bioeconomy really?“ [German]
•    Graphic Recording of the panel discussion (18th June 2021) [German]

IÖW Project Team