Introduction Bioeconomy: transforming the agrifood systems

This paper by the FAO contributes to the climate action strategies outlined in the Intergovernmental Panel on (IPCC) and further supports the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the FAO on Climate Change 2022–2031, and the FAO Science and Strategy.

What is Bioeconomy and its benefits?

The is a system of for food, animal feed, bio-based goods, and services that is based on the and circular utilization of biological resources and processes. 

At the moment, agri-food systems are responsible for around one-third of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The bioeconomy provides chances to minimize GHG emissions along the system by substituting biological resources and processes for fossil-based ones, including novel food sources, bio-based polymers and textiles, bio-based fertilizers, and biopesticides, to mention a few.

Through encouraging ecosystem restoration, nutrient and water retention in soils, supporting indigenous and local livelihoods based on biological products and services, and creating the conditions for more sustainably managed forests and fisheries, a sustainable and circular bioeconomy also presents opportunities to improve climate change adaptation and resilience.

In accordance with the Sustainable Goals (), the Paris Agreement, and other Multilateral Environmental Agreements, the sustainable and circular bioeconomy offers a comprehensive strategy to address a number of interconnected global challenges, including hunger and poverty, biodiversity loss, climate change. 

More than 60 ministers of agriculture argued in the 2015 Global Forum for Food and Agriculture communiqué that FAO should take the lead on developing global bioeconomy policies to help create more sustainable agrifood systems.

How is the global climate agenda addressing a sustainable and circular bioeconomy? 

Circular use of bioresources across agrifood systems, support for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, ecosystem restoration, as well as effective and new value chains that are adaptable to erratic climate and potential market disruptions, are just a few of the adaptation benefits provided by the bioeconomy. 

The bioeconomy for sustainable food and agriculture might potentially solve many of the issues that governments see as priorities when it comes to achieving adaptation goals within nationally determined contributions (NDCs), from food production and nutrition .

FAO Priority areas

Five areas in food and agriculture have been selected by the FAO as priority areas for action in order to support countries in achieving their NDCs: 

1. Increased framework
2. Consistent legislative frameworks. 
3. Tools, research, and analysis. 
4. The expansion of agricultural capacity. 
5. Getting money invested in agriculture.

Gomez et al., 2022

Sustainable and circular bioeconomy framework

The sustainable and circular bioeconomy framework integrates human-centered approaches to and nutrition, equity, and economic opportunities (especially for women, youth, Indigenous peoples, and marginalized groups), as well as responsible consumption and production. It also aligns with climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity preservation, and ecosystem restoration.

Bioeconomy technologies help the adaptation and mitigation of climate change

The bioeconomy framework, which uses an integrated framework focusing on topics like climate and , food security and nutrition, food , and employment opportunities for small-scale food producers, can help look at the advantages and opportunities as well as the challenges and of new food sources. 

Residue enhances safe food production and consumption by easing pressure and rivalry on land and resources. This promotes food security and nutrition and has the potential to significantly lower GHG emissions through agrifood systems.

Concluding points 

A sustainable bioeconomy promotes people to switch to diets that are more environmentally friendly and healthier, which also helps to ensure food security. 

Source: FAO.2021. Aspirational Principles and Criteria for a Sustainable Bioeconomy.


Gomez San Juan, M., Harnett, S. and Albinelli, I. 2022. Sustainable and circular bioeconomy in the climate agenda: Opportunities to transform agrifood systems. Rome, FAO.

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