Second workshop of the project “The bioeconomy and a future biobased food industry and agriculture sector: How can workers’ organisations shape the change?” took place in Venice on 28 and 29 March
The agro-food system across the world needs to respond to emergencies that combine severe vulnerability drivers: from food insecurity and inequality to climate change, including biodiversity loss, inefficient use of natural resources, increasing pollution, and increased occurrence of antibiotic resistance for example. Against this backdrop, it is important to enable a more efficient use of resources and to minimise waste. We cannot meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals and mitigate climate change without upgrading residues, side streams and waste and promoting the circular economy. The COP 24 failed to deliver and European citizens clearly want to see a much more ambitious action plan. The bioeconomy can be a driver of this change and provide different, sustainable options. For example, materials that were previously seen as waste can now be used as a basis for production of new added-value products, using side-streams from the agroindustry productions.
The first workshop of our bioeconomy project was organized in Copenhagen in October 2018 and provided participants with the background of what is the bioeconomy and what might be its key opportunities and challenges. The second workshop of the bioeconomy project that took place in Italy on 28-29 March explored the career paths in the future agricultural sector and food industry and the role of trade unions in shaping a sustainable bioeconomy. The basic demands of food workers – for employment security, a safe working environment, for trade union rights – can and must be linked to a wider program for transforming the food system and tackling climate change. By organizing and winning their rights and pushing for a shift to sustainable, low-input, less fossil-fuel dependent systems of crop production and processing, workers can cool the planet.
A final conference is scheduled in October in Belgium where a final report, together with recommendations to different stakeholders will be presented.