Feeding a sustainable chemical industry: do we have the bioproducts cart before the feedstocks horse?
A sustainable chemical industry cannot exist at scale without both sustainable feedstocks and feedstock supply chains to provide the raw materials. However, most current research focus is on producing the sustainable chemicals and materials. Little attention is given to how and by whom sustainable feedstocks will be supplied. In effect, we have put the bioproducts cart before the sustainable feedstocks horse. For example, bulky, unstable, non-commodity feedstocks such as crop residues probably cannot supply a large-scale sustainable industry. Likewise, those who manage land to produce feedstocks must benefit significantly from feedstock production, otherwise they will not participate in this industry and it will never grow. However, given real markets that properly reward farmers, demand for sustainable bioproducts and bioenergy can drive the adoption of more sustainable agricultural and forestry practices, providing many societal “win–win” opportunities. Three case studies are presented to show how this “win–win” process might unfold.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Bio-resources: feeding a sustainable chemical industry