BIO Urges U.N. to Include Biotechnology in Sustainable Development Plans

June 12, 2002 (Toronto) - The Biotechnology Industry Organization's Industrial and Environmental Section has approved a resolution calling for the inclusion of biotechnology as part of any strategy or agreement that emerges from an upcoming United Nations summit on sustainable development. Representatives of the section discussed the resolution at a press conference held this morning during the BIO 2002 convention.

The United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development is slated for Aug. 26 - Sept. 4 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The summit comes 10 years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which produced Agenda 21 urging the reconciling of human activities with natural resources under the rubric of sustainable development.

"Today, sustainable development may actually be within our grasp because industrial biotechnology, alongside agricultural applications, is providing innovative methods for achieving it," said Brent Erickson, BIO's vice president for industrial and environmental biotechnology. "We believe it is vital for government agencies around the globe to recognize the positive role industrial biotechnology can play in economic development and environmental protection that may well help all nations move toward a more sustainable future."

Industrial biotechnology offers tools to help nations shift from petroleum-based economies to renewable carbohydrate-based economies. In fact, researchers are already using advanced genomics and proteomics to make ethanol fuel and biodegradable plastic from corn sugars and soybeans."

BIO represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.