Proteins for the future

Global population will increase from today’s 7 billion to around 10 billion in 2050; along with this, the global middle classes increase by 3 billion, which will lead to a growing demand for healthy and tasty food produced in an environmentally and climate-friendly way.

Perspectives for bio-economy

Since the industrial revolution the world’s companies have produced according to linear thinking. We extract raw materials, produce, consume, and discard. This has created consider able prosperity in the world, but has also resulted in a massive pressure on the resources of the planet. Three planets would be required, if everybody were to live the way we do in Denmark. Consequently, we have to rethink our production and consumption. The present linear economy must be transformed into a circular economy. We must utilise our biological resources in a new way that fits production conditions of the future. What used to be waste must in the future be a valuable input in new products.

Bioeconomy comprises the production of renewable biological resources and the conversion of these resources and their waste streams into products with an added value, such as food, feed, bio-based products, and bioenergy. Bioeconomy can lead to increased production of sustainable biomass, in which the total pressure on the environment and climate can be reduced. Concurrently, bioeconomy must promote the resource efficient use of biomass for feed, food, biomaterials, and bioenergy.

In other words, we get more out of the biomass and less wastage of what we grow, harvest, produce, and eat – and we become better at recycling our resources. At the international level developments are already ongoing to promote bioeconomy. Bioeconomic thinking is gaining ground globally – and it is crucial that Denmark is at the cutting edge.

Bioeconomy can contribute to continued economic growth and prosperity in a way that the Earth can cope. The UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development adopted in 2015 are to take the world in a more sustainable direction, and bioeconomy is part of the solution to attain the Global Goals. It will sustain Denmark’s Global Goals Action Plan and create awareness among companies about new business opportunities and their customers’ higher expectations for local and global sustainability.

Bioeconomy also plays a key role in attaining the international climate goals from Paris in 2015 (COP21): bioeconomy can contribute by creating solutions for a fossil-free future through the development of new biomaterials, climate-friendly types of feed and food, production of bioenergy, and by promoting more sustainable consumption in general. The coming COP process should focus not only on bioenergy, but also on incentives for attaining an increased and sustainable yield from the biological resources, and a better utilisation of what is harvested, grown, or caught. It must create a new strong driver for sustainable bioeconomy and thus also promote the attainment of the goals of the climate agreement.

Danish biotechnology companies are at the cutting edge in a broad spectrum of biotechnology. We see examples in the use of microorganisms and enzymes in the production of food, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and within plant improvement. Although we have a strong starting position in the form of professional research environments and a world-class industry, developments in countries around us are rapid, not only in Europe, but also in countries such as USA, China, and Brazil. In order for Denmark to keep its frontrunner position it is important to dedicate serious and focused efforts in modern biotechnology – a central issue for the development of bioeconomy in Denmark.

One of the fields in which Denmark has the opportunity to create a competitive lead within bioeconomy, is the development of protein value chains. New protein value chains means the development of new proteins (such as grass or insects), new processing technologies, and new products in the range of feed and food.

Read Full Report: Proteins for the Future. The Danish National Bioeconomy Panel. June 2018