If you heard Canada is sitting on an untapped $200 billion per year sustainable economic development opportunity for forestry, agriculture and municipal organic waste, would you not want to hear more?
In its May 2020 report “The Bio Revolution: Innovations transforming economies, societies, and our lives,” McKinsey Global Institute wrote: “The direct economic impact of the Bio Revolution could be up to $4 trillion a year over the next ten to 20 years. More than half of this direct impact could be outside human health in domains such as agriculture and food, consumer products and services, and materials and energy production.”
The part that is “outside human health” is known as the industrial bioeconomy and refers to the production of products and materials from the sustainable processing of biomass—trees, crops (residue or dedicated), grasses, and algae.
With 348 million hectares of forests, over 60 million hectares of agriculture land, and urban centres struggling with what to do with organic waste, Canada has a world leading opportunity to capture a material portion of the industrial bioeconomy’s $2 trillion market.
Governments have a critical role to play in establishing the policy framework that enables the scale up and commercialization of industrial bioeconomy materials that make use of Canada’s natural endowments. Everything from plastics to industrial cleaners to diapers and product packaging can be made from biomass. It is time Canada join the European Commission, the OECD, the USA, the United Kingdom, Germany, Costa Rica (for heavens sake), and some 60 other countries in the world and develop a National Bioeconomy Blueprint. Canada needs to go further and faster in developing a sustainable economy that replaces oil, gas and coal.
How Canada can take advantage of this emerging and competitive space, and how industrial bioeconomy products can lead to a more diverse economy that creates employment at the same time as preserving biodiversity – this and more will all be discussed at Scaling Up 2022.
I look forward to seeing you there.