When we talk about businesses with a positive social and environmental impact, what is a bioeconomy?

Author: Augusto Corrêa

Publication by page 22 – Economics has basically supported life since its inception. Hunting itself, one of the first actions for human survival, is an economic activity, as it can be shared or simply exchanged between pairs. The expression originates from the Greek oikos, which means “home, home, home, environment”. Economy, therefore, comes before money and represents the set of activities carried out by human beings, aiming at the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services necessary for survival and quality of life.

Biology, on the other hand, is the science that studies life and living organisms, their structure, growth, functioning, reproduction, origin, evolution and distribution, as well as their relationships with the environment and with each other.

These areas of knowledge, separated here, at some point ceased to be related, as the use of the term Bioeconomy is not so common. But, based on formal reflections and conceptualizations, it is understood that Economics is already born in Bioeconomy and it seems that the answer lies in the increase in needs for goods and consumption and the manufacturing necessary for this. This happens mainly after the Industrial Revolution, when there was great industrialization in the modes of production, even resulting in the emergence of agriculture.

Economic development starts to operate, then, beyond the offer of survival and well-being of different needs, according to the technological development of each historical period, and it is in this context of development that the Market Economy emerges.

With its positive and negative aspects, the Market Economy acted strongly in the creation of new demands and, even without the intention of making any ethical or moral judgments here, it brought in its wake a strong impact on the environment.

Despite the obvious need to combat the effects caused by disregard for the environment, the existence of the Market Economy - pillar that supports survival and quality of life - will be compromised if it does not become cyclical, that is, based on sustainability . This will only be possible if there is an understanding of what Bioeconomy should achieve: o status perennial academic in Bioeconomic Sciences and the training of Bioeconomists.

Bioeconomy, therefore, strongly includes the human being in the relationship with nature and the environment. Still, this is his adaptation to nature or modification of it for its habitat, so that he can always extract knowledge from the way in which it operates. The benefits obtained through research on plant and animal biodiversity and the preserved Amazon offer us the opportunity to see an asset in the Market Economy: the standing forest is a commodity.

Here it is possible to mention the valued markets of carbon credit, açaí, nuts and fish, to start with. So, obviously, the application of a Bioeconomy privileges the preservation and sustainability of forests and agriculture itself. However, in the urban environment, its essentiality also imposes itself and adds value, with regard to basic sanitation, water supply, the way of paving, water flow and other services, including health and education. Therefore, trying to attribute to some of these categories investments for the generation of bioeconomic assets adds value, especially with regard to social welfare.

In this way, if Bioeconomy becomes an accepted and widely executed thesis, it is possible to decree the end of the degradation of the environment.

In addition, the concept of Bioeconomy is of relevant interest to the Amazon and to the context of businesses with a socio-environmental impact, as these develop economic alternatives that make it possible to “keep the forest standing”. Thus, they provide the agents involved with employment and income opportunities, equivalent to or greater than the opportunity cost associated with deforestation, and advancing towards models that make it possible to face the economic, social and environmental challenges in an integrated manner in the region.

Bioeconomy, therefore, can contribute centrally to the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable development of important biomes such as the Amazon. This is the hypothesis supported by the study “Acceleration Thesis”, launched by the Parceiros pela Amazônia (PPA) platform, in partnership with the impact accelerator Quintessa, in its recent institutional campaign, Paths to the Amazon.

The document aims to structure the multiple possibilities of action, under the umbrella of a great business acceleration strategy with a positive socio-environmental impact, working as a menu of support possibilities for different types and stages of business in the region.

The PPA, as a platform for collective action by the private sector, strengthens its value proposition with the launch of the study, which establishes clear guidelines for action in the territory and the establishment of robust partnerships, with benefits that are surely shared, in favor of the Amazon.

As a next step, the PPA Acceleration Thesis aims to contribute to the production of knowledge on the subject and on the Amazonian reality. The proposal consists of mobilizing actors and expanding discussions, thematic dialogues and value connections. More than that, it represents a public feedback for all organizations that have strategically and collaboratively contributed to its realization.

This work creates the conditions for several acceleration programs to be conceived, launched and implemented, together with implementing and financing organizations, reinforcing the vision of the PPA as a platform for leveraging opportunities and the role of the private sector in the conservation of Amazonian socio-biodiversity.

*Augusto Corrêa has been executive secretary of the Partners for the Amazon Platform (PPA) since April 2020. Graduated from the University of São Paulo in 2014, he studied the Executive MBA program in Digital Innovation and Sustainability at the same institution, in addition to having participated in several courses in Specialization.