Lessons from 26 case studies to guide countries towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Rubber from dandelions to cosmetics from seaweed - Lessons from 26 case studies

With almost 50 countries placing the promotion of the bioeconomy on their political agenda through visions, strategies and action plans, FAO’s new publication “Towards sustainable bioeconomy: lessons learned from case studies“ comes at an opportune moment.

Launched on 15 May 2019, the publication presents lessons learned on sustainable bioeconomy, through 26 case studies from countries around the world.

Bioeconomy is increasingly considered a logical response to key environmental challenges that are becoming more and more visible in today’s world. Countries see it as a means of enhancing low carbon development through reduced dependence on fossil resources, transforming manufacturing and promoting sustainable production of food, feed, bioenergy and other non-food goods using renewable biological resources from land and the sea,  at the same time creating new jobs and industries.

However, as FAO’s Natural Resources Officer Anne Bogdanski, who is coordinating the project on sustainable bioeconomy guidelines confirmed, “Activities related to expanding the bioeconomy are not necessarily 100% sustainable, and sustainability issues are not always considered in the implementation of bioeconomy initiatives. We hope this new report will shed light on this matter and guide future strategies”.

The case studies in this new publication are presented to expand the general understanding of the technical aspects of sustainable bioeconomy development and its enabling environment.  This includes production and processing aspects, the institutional set up, policies, governance, communication, organizational specifications, a combination of regulations and incentives, financial arrangements and business plans.

For each of the 26 case studies, the publication reviews the project’s objectives and how they relate to the broader Sustainable Development Goals.

The case studies range across continents, from research into functional uses and the commercialization of bio products. One example concerns the Seaweed Cluster Initiative in the United Republic of Tanzania. The initiative in Zanzibar supports women farmers, teaching them how to process value-added products (food, soap, body cream) from seaweed, which reap greater profits than exporting raw biomass. This case study was also presented to the International Symposium on Agricultural Innovation for Family Farmers held in FAO Headquarters in November 2018.

The publication falls under the German funded FAO project “Towards sustainable bioeconomy guidelines” and follows on from an earlier publication “How sustainability is addressed in official bioeconomy strategies at international, national and regional levels. An overview”.


The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), press release, 2019-05-15.


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)


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