Bio-economy must include agro-ecology and public goods

In February 2012 the European Commission announced its «Strategy for a sustainable bio-economy to ensure smart green growth in Europe». The strategy and action plan was called «Innovating for Sustainable Growth: a Bio-economy for Europe». Currently an industrial perspective dominates the EU policy framework for a European bio-economy. The Commission’s proposal on the bio-economy emphasises greater resource-efficiency, largely within an industrial perspective on global economic competitiveness, benefiting capital-intensive industries at higher levels of the value chain.

In an article recently published in the new journal for Bio-based and Applied Economics 1(1) 2012 Otto Schmid, Susanne Padel und Les Levidow argue that a responsible bio-economy must initially address the sustainable use of resources and must be based on a much broader scope than the dominant one in European Commission innovation policy. A public goods-oriented bio-economy emphasises agro-ecological methods, organic and low (external) input farming systems, ecosystem services, social innovation in multi-stakeholder collective practices and joint production of knowledge. The potential of farmers and SMEs to contribute to innovation must be fully recognised.

The article is based on work carried out for the Technology Platform TP Organics (www.tporganics.eu) and can be found at http://orgprints.org/20942/.

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