Despite many differences about what the bioeconomy actually is or should be, there is consensus that it is not sustainable per se. Rather, the production of biomass still largely takes place under ecologically and socially precarious conditions and has correspondingly harmful effects. Thus, stakeholders and policy-makers are looking for approaches and mechanisms to make the bioeconomy more sustainable. However, the approaches and instruments used to this end do not seem to deliver the necessary progress. In fact, they mostly suffer from a selective, technology-, efficiency- and growth-oriented definition of what constitutes a sustainable bioeconomy. While they may be partially successful in this regard, they necessarily neglect other aspects of social and environmental justice.

This session will discuss these contradictions of existing political approaches to a sustainable bioeconomy in various regions as well as their backgrounds and potential alternatives to them. The contributions of Thomas Vogelpohl, Mairon Bastos Lima and Hariati Sinaga will provide critical insights into the political use and design of sustainability standards for biomass production, alternative bioeconomy approaches in Brazil, and their social imbalances, and the perpetuation of colonial logics in Indonesian palm oil sustainability policy. On this basis, we aim to discuss with an interested audience how these contradictions of current bioeconomy sustainability policies arise, how they could be dealt with and what alternative approaches for an ecological and socially just bioeconomy transition would look like.

Contributions by:

  • Thomas Vogelpohl (FSU Jena):
    Understanding the Bioeconomy through its Instruments: How Sustainability Standards Perpetuate Social and Political Inequalities
  • Mairon Bastos Lima (Stockholm Environment Institute):
    A Restorative Bioeconomy: Enhancing Nature’s Contributions to Historically Disadvantaged People in the Brazilian Amazon
  • Hariati Sinaga (FSU Jena):
    The Logics of Coloniality in Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil Certification

Access the event

Passcode: 216895

Join on Zoom