DSM Position document on industrial biotechnology in Europe and The Netherlands

01.07.2004

DSM Position document on industrial biotechnology in Europe and The Netherlands

INTRODUCTION

Industrial (or white) biotechnology, the use of biotechnology in industrial processes, is a subject which is rapidly gaining priority on the agendas of those in industry, politics, academia and NGOs. Why? Because white biotechnology offers enormous opportunities, not just for the economy, but equally to our environment and to our society. Recent studies from McKinsey and the Öko-Institute, as well as reports from the OECD, demonstrate the need to pay serious attention to building a European strategy for white biotechnology jointly among industry, politicians and scientists.

The USA is moving fast in this field. The current US administration has adopted the stimulation of white/industrial biotechnology as part of its governmental programme and allocated a substantial budget to draft a “road map” to facilitate the development and implementation of the use of this form of biotechnology. We should not simply copy the US policy. Instead, Europe and individual Member States should use the rich potential that this continent offers in terms of knowledge, industrial activities and academic research institutes.

EuropaBio, the EU Industrial Association of Biotechnology, urges all white biotechnology stakeholders to jointly discuss the benefits of applying white/industrial biotechnology in Europe. We would like to see us identify and action some concrete steps towards making the use of white biotechnology really happen on a large scale.

In this paper, you will find our initial recommendations, both for the Netherlands and for Europe as a whole. To realise the proposed steps, political support at national and EU levels will be very important. It would be very welcome if the Dutch government were to use the Dutch EU Presidency in the second half of 2004 to draw up an action plan, and to present that to Europe. We would hope to see white/industrial biotechnology programmes being secured within the existing EU Framework Programme 6 and in the new Programme 7.

White biotechnology offers the rare opportunity to create a triple win for People, Planet and Profit. Let’s not pass up this promising development for Europe, from which both ourown and future generations can benefit.

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