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Looking back: Biotech for a sustainable future

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Last week, HollandBIO organized an event Biotech for a Sustainable Future, bringing together the national network for agri-, food and industrial biotechnology for the very first time. De Moestuin in Utrecht set a beautiful scene for the inspirational speakers and discussions, followed by refreshing drinks, tasty vegetarian food and of course, networking.

The speakers

  • Peter Rowe, CEO and founder of the fast-growing biotechnology start-up Deep Branch set the scene by explaining what biotechnology is and why we should make food in a bioreactor. Peter explained techniques such as biomass and precision fermentation, cultured meat, microbial oils and mycoproteins, including their unique selling points, showcasing a clear overview of the sector.
  • Roald Lapperre, Director-General for the Environment and International Affairs within the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management stressed the challenges of exhausting the world’s natural resources. This year, the Netherlands reached Earth Overshoot Day on April 12, meaning that if everyone lived the same way as the Dutch we would need nearly four earths. Roald elaborated on the Dutch government’s conviction that biotechnology is and should be an integral part of overcoming these pressing societal challenges.
  • Natascha Kooiman, “Sustainability Rebel”, founder of Smaackmakers and one of the quartermasters of the Food transition Coalition used the transition theory to explain what is needed to accelerate the much needed system change based. A sustainable market transformation, such as the protein transition, has four phases in which all stakeholders have an important and distinct role to play, a message strongly appealing to the many stakeholders attending the event.

To close the meeting, speakers and audience were asked to vote agree or disagree to three statements and share their thoughts. The statements sparked a lively discussion among the audience, which was continued over drinks and tasteful bites.

The event was a great success, and if it’s up to HollandBIO (and it is!), many more agri, food and industrial biotech events will follow. We look forward to meeting you all again!  

© Jeroen Bouman (photography)