Good Day BIO: Calculating the climate benefits of biotech – and a TRIPS update

October 6, 2021
How can we calculate the benefits of our sustainability practices—and ensure biotech innovations can be widely adopted? Experts provided insight during BIO IMPACT yesterday. We also have an update on where things stand on the TRIPS waiver. (902 words, 4 minutes, 30…
BIO

How can we calculate the benefits of our sustainability practices—and ensure biotech innovations can be widely adopted? Experts provided insight during BIO IMPACT yesterday. We also have an update on where things stand on the TRIPS waiver. (902 words, 4 minutes, 30 seconds)

 

How do we calculate the climate benefits of biotechnology?

 
 

This was the question discussed yesterday during the kickoff of the BIO IMPACT Webinar Series. Stakeholders across the bioeconomy provided insights on how we can calculate the benefits of sustainability practices and ensure they can be widely adopted. 

The biotech sector is uniquely positioned to play a major role in climate mitigation efforts—by creating tools to power a low-carbon economy, as well as by promoting sustainability within their organizations.

But sustainability is about more than just the environment—and we need to understand how to calculate the benefits of these initiatives, panelists agreed in a discussion moderated by Doug Berven, VP of Corporate Affairs for POET, the world’s largest producer of biofuels

It’s important to think about ESG (Environmental/Social/Governance) “in a much more holistic way,” including “equity, justice, diversity, inclusion,” said Sasha Calder, Head of Sustainability for Genomatica, which uses biotech and fermentation to turn plant-based ingredients into materials like fabric.

Keeping equity in mind and breaking down barriers to adopting more sustainable practices is essential, said Callie Eideberg, Director of Government Relations for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). “How do we figure out how to move forward with market-based solutions but also be very cognizant of the history and the past and not make the same mistakes that have been made before?” 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can play a role in ensuring carbon markets are transparent, so “all farmers of all sizes are actually able to participate,” she added—read what she told a House panel about how we can make carbon markets work

Furthermore, the federal renewable fuel standard structure is “not adequate” for future challenges, said Colin Murphy, Deputy Director of the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy. “A more proactive, more innovative, and far-reaching fuel policy” is needed at the national level, setting targets "at least a decade ahead."

Better data collection would improve sustainability efforts, he added. “We could make a lot more informed policy and be more precise and accurate in our recommendations if we had better data.” 

To build trust in biotechnology, we need to effectively communicate how technological development is leading to better outcomes, said Steve Brody, Senior Director of Global R&D, External Affairs, Genus PLC, an animal genetics company that’s breeding more resilient livestock. 

The bottom line: Humans created climate change—and with biotech, we have the tools to “science our way out” of the mess, BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath wrote in STAT News

 

More Agriculture and Environment News: 

Bloomberg: The cheap and easy climate fix that can cool the planet fast
“CO2 is only part of the patchwork of warming. Methane locks in far more heat in the short term and has been leaking just as relentlessly.”

 
 
 
Twitter
 
LinkedIn
 
Facebook
 
 
GDB Callout-04.png
 

TRIPS talks deadlocked, per reports

 
 

Negotiations on the proposed waiver of vaccine IP protections are “deadlocked and directionless,” reports Reuters. Here’s a quick update—and a better way to get vaccines to people who need them.

ICYMI: The World Trade Organization (WTO) is considering a proposal backed by India and South Africa (and supported by the U.S.) to waive the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for vaccine technology

During a “closed-door” meeting on Monday, conversations were “circular, with no real progress achieved,” reports Reuters. “The meeting was the penultimate scheduled session on the waiver ahead of a major ministerial conference in November-December which provides a rare opportunity for new trade deals, such as on intellectual property, to be finalized.” 

We’ll say it again: If IP rights are waived, we’ll compromise global vaccination efforts, BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath wrote recently in STAT News.  

Vaccines are already low-cost or free—but a waiver would make them more expensive, when you factor in the cost of building new manufacturing facilities as well as competition causing price increases for raw materials, as we previously explained

Companies are set to manufacture enough doses in 2021 to fully vaccinate 70% of people worldwide, according to a recent Duke University study from its Global Health Innovation Center.  

Now, we need to share the doses already available—here’s how BIO has proposed we do it. (And it seems like the Biden administration is paying closer attention.) 

Listen: Vaccine experts agree—we can and must share vaccines with the globe.

 
 
 
Twitter
 
LinkedIn
 
Facebook
 
 
Dr. Julio Frenk.jpg
 
 

Dr. Julio Frenk is the first Hispanic president of the University of Miami, the latest role in a long life in public service and advancing Hispanic and Latinx visibility. As Minister of Health of Mexico, he introduced universal health insurance, Seguro Popular, which expanded healthcare benefits to millions of uninsured Mexican citizens.

Meet more Hispanic and Latinx scientists and innovators you should know.

 
 
 
Twitter
 
LinkedIn
 
Facebook
 
 
BIO Beltway Report
BIO Beltway Report
 
Paragraph (sm) - Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Quis ipsum suspendisse ultrices gravida. Risus commodo viverra maecenas accumsan lacus vel facilisis sample link.
 

President Biden’s Wednesday: Hosting a meeting with business leaders and CEOs on the need to immediately address the debt limit. The White House COVID-19 Response Team will hold a briefing at 3 PM ET. Meanwhile, POLITICO has some more background on NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins’ decision to step down and the search for a replacement

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: The Senate is voting on whether to consider suspending the debt limit, per POLITICO Day Ahead. NBC News says there are five ways this could end.

 
 
Paragraph (normal) - Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Quis ipsum suspendisse ultrices gravida. Risus commodo viverra maecenas accumsan lacus sample link.
 
Twitter
 
LinkedIn
 
Facebook