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PBPC Newsletter May 20, 2020


Welcome to the Plant Based Products Council Newsletter! Read on for the latest in PBPC news and activities, as well as some of the amazing innovations, trends, and developments happening right now in the sustainability and bioeconomy world! If you missed our last edition, check it out using the link below.

PBPC Newsletter May 6, 2020

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COALITION URGES BOOST TO BIO-BASED MANUFACTURING WITH EPA RULE CHANGE, SCIENTISTS AGREE

PBPC recently joined a coalition in the plant-based product chain that is asking Congress to push the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to recognize that natural carbon dioxide from the processing of agricultural crops, known as biogenic CO2, “is not harmful pollution because it was captured within the previous year when the crops were grown.” Such a move would remove aroadblock to upgrading and modernizing equipment used in the development of renewable products and materials.

Similarly, a group of 21 leading climate scientists and researchers sent a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Deputy Assistant Administrator Anne Idsal, emphasizing the scientific support for such a proposal.

Inside EPA/climate: Amid Biomass Focus, Scientists Urge EPA To Find Crops Carbon-Neutral
IEG Policy: Coalition Asks Congress To Prod EPA To Redefine Biogenic CO2 Emissions
Ethanol Producer Magazine: Ag Groups Ask Congress To Address GHG Emissions From Annual Crops
Biogenic CO2 Coalition letter: An appeal to Congress

POLICY IDEAS TO SUPPORT THE BIOECONOMY

But the EPA rule change above isn’t the only thing policymakers can be doing to support the development of the bioeconomy. In three different op-eds posted recently, we find forward-looking ideas for steps governments can take to promote the biotech sector. The first piece, by John Cumber, showcases his “Built With Biology” five-point plan to build secure supply chains and manufacturing capacity in the face of the current and future pandemics, with a focus on the bioindustrial base. The second piece argues that “historically small biomanufacturing firms” could benefit from COVID, and suggests supportive policy ideas. The third piece also looks at how state and federal policy could play a role.

Forbes (Opinion): It’s Time To Build…With Biology
Forbes (Opinion): Could Biomanufacturing See A Renaissance In The Post-COVID Economy?
Morning Consult (Opinion): Biobased Economy Illustrates Potential In COVID-19 Response. Policy Must Catch Up.

YOUR COVID DEBATE ROUND-UP

Heated discussions continue: how will COVID affect sustainability efforts? We’re seeing an equal number of fascinating analyses and awful hot takes. Perhaps it’s simply too early to know the impact of COVID. Nonetheless, it’s a debate worth following. Here’s some of the latest.

Financial Times: Can Companies Still Afford To Care About Sustainability? 
World Economic Forum: The Impact Of COVID-19 On The Movement To End Plastic Waste 
Politico: How The Pandemic Made Companies Rethink Saving The World
Packaging Digest: COVID-19 Spurs Spike in Sustainable To-Go Food Packaging
Retail Brew: Covid-19 Could Galvanize Retailers To Become More Sustainable

FINANCING OUR SHARED VISION

A great idea needs capital behind it. Here are a few stories examining capital formation and companies who are finding it. The first focuses on a Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment platform. The second describes a Georgia-based company that just raised $133 million to build bioplastics. And the third looks at an entrepreneur in China who is investing $100 million of his own capital betting on bioplastics, especially for toys.

Environmental Leader: Morgan Stanley Announces $110 Million Fund Focused On Climate Solutions
Tech Crunch: WDC Industries Is A New Startup Hoping To Become A Bioplastics Giant In Athens, Ga.
Forbes: Billionaire Behind The World’s Largest Toy Maker Bets On Spuds To Spur Growth

NEW ADVANCES HAPPENING UPSTREAM IN OUR SUPPLY CHAIN…

Scientists discover how to use banana tree waste to make bioplastics. Dow and Doxa Plast have partnered to create renewable stretch films. And, Avantium, a renewable chemistry company, plans to test a new approach to substantially reduce CO2 emissions from road construction by using lignin derived from woody biomass as a substitute for petroleum-based products in asphalt.

Institute of Mechanical Engineers: Packaging Goes Green
Packaging Gateway: Dow And Doxa Plast Partner To Deliver Renewable Stretch Films
Biomass Magazine: Avantium To Produce Lignin For Development Of Biobased Asphalt

…AND NEW DOWNSTREAM CONSUMER PRODUCTS

Including….[checks notes]… kitty litter. Plant-based products: we are officially everywhere!

USDA Agricultural Research Service: Building A Better, Biobased Cat Litter
Healthcare Packaging: Sugarcane And Corn: ‘Ingredients Matter’ In New Deodorant Packaging

NEW CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY COMMITMENTS

Campbell Soup Company announced new packaging sustainability goals, including transitioning 100% of its packaging to recyclable or industrially compostable designs and materials by 2030. Group Michelin, the tire company, says it’s working on a number of sustainability projects including energy- and material-saving tires and biosourced materials.

Business Wire: Campbell Announces New Sustainable Packaging Goals
Tire Business: Michelin Commits To A Green Economic Restart, Post-Pandemic

TWO NEW, OCEAN-BASED MOTIVATIONS FOR OUR CAUSE

First, scientists have uncovered the highest-ever concentration of microplastics on the seafloor, finding just 11 square feet of ocean floor in the Mediterranean has 1.9 million pieces. These “microplastic hotspots” are caused by sea floor currents, which concentrate plastics in large sediment accumulations. Second, microplastics were found in sea floor sediment layers over 150 years old – even though mass-produced plastic is only 80 years old. How’d they get there? Click the link.

CBS News: Researchers Uncover Highest-Ever Amount Of Microplastics On Ocean Floor
Newsweek: Microplastics Discovered In 150-Year-Old Sediments 7,000 Feet Beneath The Ocean Surface

WE HAVE A RULE HERE AT PBPC…

And that is “read everything the Ellen MacArthur Foundation writes.” They are among the leaders on our issues, and continue to be at the forefront of smart thinking on the transition to a circular economy. Here’s a piece from them on the circular economy, plus a few more. To reduce waste and achieve greater sustainability globally, we need to ensure that used products (and their packaging) retain economic value by taking new forms – entering the circular economy.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation: The Covid-19 Recovery Requires A Resilient Circular Economy
Green Biz: Paradigm Shift: Conceptualizing The Circular Economy
Recycling Product News: How To Create A Circular Economy That Leaves No Waste
Green Biz: Inside Eastman’s Moonshot Goal For Endlessly Circular Plastics



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