| Una vita bio

Spring for sustainable development

Making Italy one of the centres of excellence for bioeconomy in the world, a country where it is easy to invest, to do scientific research and to do business, conciliating economic growth, respect for the environment and social development. These are the targets of SPRING (Sustainable Processes and Resources for Innovation and National Growth), the national technological cluster of green chemistry. It was established in 2012 by Biochemtex, Novamont, Versalis and Federchimica to foster efficient and competitive low-carbon emission bioindustries, starting from researches in the renewable raw materials field. As OCSE forecasts that the world population will reach 8,3 billion, with a 57% increase in the global average yearly income per person (8600 USD), we are expecting an increase in the world demand for services that help to live better and longer, as well as the demand for essential natural resources, like food, animal feed, fibers for clothes and furniture, clean water and power. Moreover, many ecosystems that support human societies are being super-exploited and won’t last forever, and the climate change will heighten the environmental issues, negatively impacting the water offer and farm productivity. A fast change to circular economy is mandatory, which means “an economy planned so that it can regenerate on its own” (the definition by the Ellen McArthur Foundation), by using production scraps through low energy impact processes that help decrease carbon emissions. So far, twelve Italian regions have subscribed to SPRING (approved by MIUR-Ministry for Education, University and Research) and several European Universities and Research Centres are involved. The major challenges are training qualified personnel, boosting public and private research, having the public authorities’ incentive towards national policies that promote bio-based products in any field (clusterspring.it).

Giuliana Zoppis