Canada’s first national Bioeconomy Strategy has been released by Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC). Produced by BIC in partnership with BIOTECanada, FPInnovations and Forest Products Association of Canada, the report reflects the views of more than 400 industry representatives from across the country.
Released on May 14, 2019, the report “Canada’s Bioeconomy Strategy: Leveraging our Strengths for a Sustainable Future” recommends action on four key priority areas identified in foundational work by the Advisory Council on Economic Growth, the Economic Sector Strategy Tables, and Canada’s forestry ministers. These priority areas are:
- Creating agile regulation and government policy;
- Establishing biomass supply and stewardship;
- Building strong companies and value chains; and
- Building strong sustainable innovation ecosystems.
Consultations with industry concluded a national Strategy is needed to fully advance Canada’s bioeconomy. The Strategy recognizes the role of innovation clusters and ecosystems as key to advancing Canada’s bioeconomy. These venues will facilitate relationships between producers, SMEs, and large firms along the full value chain, domestically and globally.
With this Strategy, industry has addressed the ways in which Canada’s competitive advantages including access to biomass, global leadership in forestry and agriculture, sustainable resource management, and a skilled workforce, can make Canada a world leader.
The recommendations focus on commercializing innovations to grow larger companies and to have Canadian products and processes adopted into international value chains. The recommendations support the development of innovation ecosystems across Canada.
The recommendations call on the government to introduce policies, regulation, and support for companies and the agriculture and forestry sectors to adopt practices and new technologies that improve stewardship of natural resources and increase productivity.
Canada is one of only a few countries without a bioeconomy strategy. A recent international overview produced by the German Bioeconomy Council shows Canada as having no dedicated strategy. In a world looking for alternatives to reduce fossil fuel dependence, and to address food shortages and resource depletion, the technologies and products of the bioeconomy can offer solutions.
Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, BIOTECanada, the Forest Products Association of Canada, and FPInnovations – the organizations that undertook these consultations – intend to work within their networks to implement the Strategy’s recommendations. The recommendations will guide the work of these organizations with industry and with government. BIC and its partners will report on the progress in implementing the recommendations.
The industry members of Canada’s bioeconomy include biomass producers and processors, and manufacturing companies producing bioenergy, biofuels, biochemicals, biomaterials, and consumer products. In 2015, Canadian companies transformed more than 21 million tonnes of agricultural and forestry biomass into bioproducts. These transformations created approximately CA$4.27 billion in revenues.