OECD Science, Technology and Industry Policy Papers

The OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) develops evidence-based policy advice on the contribution of science, technology and industry to well-being and economic growth. STI Policy Papers cover a broad range of topics, including industry and globalisation, innovation and entrepreneurship, scientific R&D and emerging technologies. These reports are officially declassified by an OECD Committee.


Biobased Chemicals and Bioplastics

Finding the Right Policy Balance

As OECD countries emerge from the global financial crisis, several countries have published their plans for the development of a future bioeconomy, an economy in which bio-based materials and production techniques will contribute significantly to economic and environmental sustainability. Such plans typically involve building a bio-based production industry in which fuels, energy and materials such as chemicals and plastics, almost always generated from fossil resources such as oil and natural gas, are incrementally replaced by equivalent or novel products generated from renewable resources. The realisation of this vision will require sustainably harnessing the vast biomass resource.

The highest policy priorities at present are on several levels: allowing bio-based materials to compete for biomass on price with bioelectricity and biofuels; rectifying the highly distorting fossil fuel subsidies, heading off future competition for crude oil demand; and correcting for any excessive regulatory impacts. If governments wish to realise a successful bioeconomy in the future, the case for support for bio-based chemicals and plastics warrants serious attention.


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