It is clear that current levels of consumption of fossil fuels, like coal and oil, are unstainable from an ecological standpoint. However, this is also true from an ethical point of view, as future generations will suffer the effects of the pollution taking place right now.
Biotechnology can substitute many chemical processes for greener, more sustainable and eco-friendly ones that use renewable raw materials. One example is making more biodegradable plastics with carbohydrate derivatives instead of oil derivatives. Another is biofuel.
One of the most promising fields is medicine, safely and efficiently producing drugs that are more and more effective in various arenas, such as cardiovascular conditions, cancer and infectious disease.
To review the state of white biotechnology (focusing on chemical products and power) and red biotechnology (for drug development), several world-renowned figures met on 14 and 15 February 2016 for the debate entitled Industrial Biotechnology. Questions Today for Tomorrow's Needs organized by B·Debate –an initiative of Biocat and the "la Caixa" Foundation to promote scientific debate– along with the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and the Red de Biotecnología Industrial Integrativa (RBII).
SOME NOTEWORTHY ISSUES PENDING:
- Ensuring the sustainability of natural resources and the impact of industrial activities on the environment
- Researching more efficient new drugs that promote personalized medicine while also being affordable for healthcare systems
- Improving collaboration between the public and private sectors
- Positioning Corporate Social Responsibility as a key element in all of these processes