Brazilian Coalition stands for the creation of a National Policy on Bioeconomy

16 September 2021

Task Force claims training for professionals working in areas such as food and forests, in addition to the commitment of the business sector to ESG principles

 

VISION

To expand the scale and add value to productive chains and ecosystem services derived from native vegetation, whether exclusively or in combination with planted forests, agricultural or pastoral systems, from small-scale extractive or family-based, to larger scale agroforestry systems.


CONCEPT

The recent boom of initiatives focused on Bioeconomy, in Brazil and worldwide, has made the term to embrace countless concepts and sectors, tailored to the reality of each region on Earth.

In temperate countries the concept is most connected to the agenda of decarbonization of the energy matrix, creation of biomaterials alternative to petroleum derivatives, promotion of a regenerative and circular economy, rethinking consumption patterns and raising the level of socio-environmental responsibility of companies in their supply and distribution chains.

There are other related topics that belong to this ecosystem, such as biomimetics and its bio-inspired innovations, or biotechnology associated with the production of food, medicines and bio-derivatives, with extremely powerful outcomes in regenerative models for agriculture and biodiversity.

In Brazil, the concept was embraced by sectors in which the country is a world reference, such as biofuels (ethanol, biodiesel, biomass, biogas), bioproducts (cellulose, native and planted wood), innovations in biomass derivatives (lignin and derivatives) and health (biopharmaceuticals and vaccines). The Brazilian agricultural sector also employs the term when referring to new agricultural soil management practices, which prioritize the use of bio-inputs, bio-fertilizers, biological pest control, pollination, phosphorus and nitrogen-fixing inoculums, enzymes, precursors, rumen modulators, and countless innovations of the new understanding frontier of the role of microbiota in the relationship between soil, plant, herbivores, and decomposers.

Furthermore, there is the Bioeconomy that is related to the sustainable exploitation or management of the native flora in its countless combinations of denseness and joint venture of non-timber extractivism, related to the biodiversity value chains, case of acai and other species such as copaiba, cashew nut, cocoa, cumaru, winter's bark, candeia, jaborandi, manioc, several palms, carnauba, babassu, moriche palm, macaw palm, jussara, pupunha palm tree, butia, among countless beautiful plants of our flora and their amazing derivatives.

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, a movement formed by more than 300 representatives of agribusiness, industry, civil society, financial sector and academia, as a group with a rich diversity of organizations and companies related to agriculture and forestry, seeks to adopt a definition of Bioeconomy concept that is more comprehensive and related to the Brazilian identity and vocation. As such, the Coalition's Bioeconomy Task Force will act in synergy with other bioeconomy initiatives in Brazil, including those led by partner networks and organizations.

However, in order to address tangibles objectives and set a priority line of action, the Task Force focuses on the Bioeconomy derived from forestry and agroforestry systems in Brazil, at different scales and reaching multiple sectors, such as traditional peoples and communities and family farmers, among other important stakeholders in the chains.

Thus, we seek to promote the economic use of forests and native vegetation, in ecosystems managed with good socio-environmental practices, that favor endogenous local development and the commercialization of larger scale chains, therefore generating income, empowerment, and the well-being of local communities.


POSITIONING

The drive to scale up the Bioeconomy has a direct link to global efforts towards sustainable development and maintaining healthy life on Earth. In Brazil, the Bioeconomy shall promote the responsible use of biodiversity, the development of sustainable agricultural and forestry systems, the protection and restoration of native vegetation, the socioeconomic inclusion of traditional communities and family farmers, and the generation of income for all Brazil's rural and forestry areas. Therefore, the Bioeconomy has integral adherence to the founding objectives of the Coalition, it is almost a synthesis of everything that guides our path and actions.

The Coalition's proposed Bioeconomy explores the interface between agriculture, livestock, and forests, with the goal of scaling up sustainable and biodiverse production systems that promote landscape restoration, soil regeneration, biodiversity conservation, ecosystem service valuation, and agricultural efficiency. The starting point is to protect agricultural soil from desiccation and erosion, increase organic matter and the water holding capacity of the soil. In addition, the systems shall seek less dependence on inorganic fertilizers and promote Integrated Pest Management (IPM) with a focus on biological control and inoculation, among other developments in rural and forest production management practices.

Brazil can consolidate a new concept of Bioeconomy through its connection with biodiversity conservation and restoration in different biomes of the country. This movement can facilitate the desired reconciliation between economic development and the well-being of living beings and the planet.

Brazil has conditions to become a protagonist of this new Bioeconomy, by aligning the responsible use of the mega biodiversity of its biomes, the intimacy of traditional peoples and communities with nature, the social capital of family farmers, and the strong innovative capacity of Brazilian companies in the forestry and agricultural sectors.

The initiative recognizes and values the importance and relevance of indigenous peoples' and traditional communities' knowledge about the biodiversity of Brazilian biomes and its uses, as opportunities to the advancement of the Bioeconomy in Brazil. In this respect, scientific development and the promotion of biodiversity use will converge with this tradition, in a way that is fair to all parties involved.

In order to achieve this potential, the State’s role in coordinating public policies and incentive programs for the Bioeconomy is essential. It is strategic for the country to articulate a National Policy on Bioeconomy, that gathers interests and guides to reach the so desired sustainable development, with low carbon emission and biodiversity conservation.

Needless to say, the private sector plays a crucial role in this evolution, by joining its huge capacity to apply innovation and access markets, fostering entrepreneurship, accelerating new businesses, structuring investments, supporting science and technology, and promoting knowledge dissemination. In addition, it adheres to the ESG agenda that companies need to concretely incorporate into their business strategies.

It is essential that the evolution of the Brazilian Bioeconomy is guided by absolute respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and traditional communities, through benefit sharing for access to traditional knowledge associated with biodiversity, in accordance with Brazilian and international legislation on the matter. The incentive models for technology transfer and traditional knowledge need to be thought through in a logic of inclusion and collaboration between the public and private sectors, by adjusting the national innovation system to this reality. Evidences and impacts, both local and global, that we are experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic must warn us of the situation of planetary degradation in which we find ourselves at the moment, and it is essential that the Bioeconomy be aligned with this context.

Brazil is at the forefront of this new Bioeconomy. Nevertheless, this leadership requires public-private partnerships, good political representation, inspiring business leaders, scientific innovation, promotion of new consumption profiles, better-aware citizens, and a population that is more respected and educated for the new challenges that exist. In other words, there is a great challenge ahead, but the horizon is open.


ACTION PLAN

In order to address these challenges, the Coalition's Bioeconomy Task Force strategic agenda considers the following actions:

Policies and Incentives:

1. Contribute to the creation of an inclusive, comprehensive and streamlined National Policy on Bioeconomy that nurtures opportunities, fosters innovation, and avoids regulatory restrictions. Seek synergies with similar initiatives under discussion in the country. Propose transparent governance mechanisms, build a state strategy for the Bioeconomy, at local, regional, national and global levels.

2. Discuss and propose tax incentives that increase the volume of official transactions, unlock access to available credit lines, and optimize the use of financing lines aimed at the Bioeconomy and decarbonization, integrated with the commitments undertaken by Brazil in international agreements on climate, biodiversity, and poverty reduction.

 

Data Collection and Integration:

3. Integrate data sources, systemize and disseminate information about the Bioeconomy derived from Brazilian biodiversity. Emphasize the generation of value at various levels of consumption, such as food, local use, or commercial product. Map the scalable chains and the value adding bottlenecks. To generate intelligence for the construction of a strategy for effective participation in the GDP of the counties, states and the federation.

 

Research, Development and Innovation:

4. To strengthen research, development and innovation programs applied to bioeconomy, with a focus on forests and biodiversity, based on public-private partnerships, in line with the Biodiversity Law and the Nagoya Protocol.

5. Foster the deployment of regional poles of excellence focused on research, knowledge production in biodiversity and native forests, integrating those already existing in the regions, such as federal, state and local institutions, third sector, companies and already established networks that produce knowledge and innovation. Support the structuring of a database that optimizes access to existing portfolios, thus highlighting knowledge gaps, concentrating energy on overcoming bottlenecks and guiding national research in Bioeconomy towards value creation.

6. Support the structuring of regional training centers in key issues for the Bioeconomy, which integrate knowledge of chemistry, biology, ecology, food, agriculture, forestry and business, ecosystem services and continuously train new generations of technicians, researchers, professionals and entrepreneurs.

7. Support product, process and service innovation, foster the substitution of fossil-based materials, promote the circular economy and hold companies accountable for the entire life cycle of their products.

 

Market Access and Consolidation:

8. Ensure corporate sector commitment to ESG principles related to Bioeconomy, which promote supply chains free of deforestation and forest degradation and uphold social and environmental responsibility as a core business practice.

9. Foster local and regional economies based on sociobiodiversity, which accelerate social inclusion and poverty alleviation in several contexts of rural Brazil, with attention to indigenous peoples, traditional communities and family farmers.


PRIORITIZING ACTIONS

For the first year of the Coalition's Bioeconomy Task Force, it proposes three priorities, referring to the actions described above:

• Contribute to the creation of a National Policy on Bioeconomy (related to action 1);
Integration of data sources, systematization and dissemination of information regarding the Bioeconomy (referring to action 3); and
Foster the deployment of regional centers of excellence focused on research, production of knowledge on biodiversity and native forests, supporting the structuring of a database to optimize access to this information (related to action 5).


CONCLUDING REMARKS

This document was elaborated based on months of dialogue among the members of the Bioeconomy Task Force and with contributions from the leadership of the other Coalition’s Task Forces and Dialogue Forums. We believe that the conceptual field that has been discussed in the country is in accordance with what the Coalition believes to be a new path for the Bioeconomy in Brazil: The Bioeconomy understands all economic activity derived from bioprocesses and bioproducts that contribute to efficient solutions in the use of biological resources - facing challenges in food, chemicals, materials, energy production, health, environmental services and environmental protection - that promote the transition to a new model of sustainable development and welfare of society” (Project ODBio [Portuguese acronym for: Opportunities and Challenges of Bioeconomy], 2020).

 

About the Brazilian Coalition

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multi-sector movement formed with the objective of proposing actions and influencing public policies that lead to the development of a low-carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs and the fostering of innovation, Brazil’s global competitiveness and generation and distribution of wealth to the entire society. More than 300 companies, business associations, research institutes and civil society organizations have already joined the Brazilian Coalition - coalizaobr.com.br/en