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Poyry - Are you ready for the Age of Confluence? - Point of View

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Poyry - Are you ready for the Age of Confluence? - Point of View

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Our global ecosystem is evolving. We have entered a new era, characterised by an increasingly complex mesh of interconnections and linkages across the world’s major resource groups: land, biomass, energy, fresh water, chemicals, manpower, and metals and minerals. Another parallel phenomenon is emerging: our digital and
bio-based worlds are also converging. We are living in what we call the ‘Age of Confluence’.
It is time for industries to understand and master the bio-economic implications of these interconnections – or risk facing serious issues, which cut deep into the core of a
sustainable future.

Our global ecosystem is evolving. We have entered a new era, characterised by an increasingly complex mesh of interconnections and linkages across the world’s major resource groups: land, biomass, energy, fresh water, chemicals, manpower, and metals and minerals. Another parallel phenomenon is emerging: our digital and
bio-based worlds are also converging. We are living in what we call the ‘Age of Confluence’.
It is time for industries to understand and master the bio-economic implications of these interconnections – or risk facing serious issues, which cut deep into the core of a
sustainable future.

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Poyry - Are you ready for the Age of Confluence? - Point of View

  1. 1. Pöyry Point of View: Shaping the next future Areyoureadyfor theAgeof Confluence?
  2. 2. 2 | PÖYRY POINT OF VIEW Our global ecosystem is evolving. We have entered a new era, characterised by an increasingly complex mesh of interconnections and linkages across the world’s major resource groups: land, biomass, energy, fresh water, chemicals, manpower, and metals and minerals. Another parallel phenomenon is emerging: our digital and bio-based worlds are also converging. We are living in what we call the ‘Age of Confluence’. It is time for industries to understand and master the bio-economic implications of these interconnections – or risk facing serious issues, which cut deep into the core of a sustainable future. TheAgeof Confluence In this landmark Point of View we explore the tensions as our bioeconomy unfolds and reshapes. We consider the practical ways to overcome these challenges and drive for a sustainable biofuture. Key questions include: • Why does the ethical dimension of a sustainable biofuture matter? • Why do we need to re-calculate costs based on the bigger picture? • Why do we need to re-plan sustainable strategies outside the silos? • How do we achieve real end-to-end sustainability in biofuels? Rio+20, entitled ‘The Future We Want’ In June 2012, world leaders approved the outcome document for Rio+20, entitled ‘The Future We Want’. The foundations for social, economic and environmental well-being were set out and calls were made for a wide range of actions wherein sustainability continues to play a fundamental role in how nations live and do business. Albeit criticised for lacking commitment, detail and measurable targets, these global initiatives together with national mandates and obligations, generate a renewed call for industry to pioneer the next generation of technologies to tackle climate change. Why does the ethical dimension of a sustainable biofuture matter? The Rio+20 agreement recognises that people are at the centre of sustainable development and reaffirms the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as other related international instruments. These human aspects form the intrinsic part of the social dimension of sustainability, which affects the very fabric of society, culture and human development. The ethical dimension is implemented in policy frameworks, operating guidelines, and business codes of conduct that govern our daily actions and activities. The ethical aspects are becoming more and more important and are recognised as a fundamental part of the sustainable development and production of biofuels, which should not be practiced at the expense of people’s essential rights. Instead biofuels should develop in accordance with trade
  3. 3. 3PÖYRY POINT OF VIEW | A properly planned and implemented agroforestry system contributes to all key dimensions of sustainability – economic, environmental and social. principles that are fair and recognise the rights of people to just reward. It’s widely recognised that basic human rights are breached when production endangers local food security or displaces local population from the land they depend on for their daily subsistence. [1] Indeed, the ‘food versus fuel’ debate is one of the most controversial topics related to increased demand for biomass sources. This discussion is mostly linked to agriculture in respect of the adoption of new land for production purposes, changes in the types of crops grown, and changing the intensity of variable inputs for individual crops. The topic of food versus fuel continues to remain in the spotlight despite the many efforts showing that the role of biofuels has a significantly smaller role in increasing food prices compared to other factors such as the increasing price of oil, variations in the crop yields, and speculative trade. Re-calculating costs based on the bigger picture Economic sustainability affects people’s livelihoods, the economy and equitable wealth distribution. The costs and benefits of bio- based production should be distributed in a fair way and the economic evaluation should consider absolute costs and also compare them to other options; when the costs of biofuels are evaluated, other alternative energy sources should also be considered [1]. In addition to the actual absolute costs, opportunity costs merit similar attention to ensure a full assessment of the total costs in comparison to the benefits and alternative uses of the feedstock. For example, biomass may be needed and used in cooking or heating, which both service the fundamental needs of local population, instead of making use of it as a source of biofuels or other bio- based products. Therefore, the economic sustainability requires a much broader approach than the simplistic evaluation of the costs and return of investment of the production plant only.
  4. 4. 4 | PÖYRY POINT OF VIEW In our view, we are entering into the ‘Age of Confluence’ , wherein these interconnections and linkages between all key resources are becoming more challenging yet essential to master: land, biomass, energy, fresh water, chemicals, manpower and metals and minerals. Achieving this complex balance and overcoming tensions calls for global expertise across the value chain. Governments, investors and industry players alike need to become conscious of the bigger picture interrelationships and re-think traditional approaches which no longer serve strategies within the bioeconomy. Masteringthecritical interconnections: societyandenvironment Re-planning sustainable strategies outside the silos Efforts to achieve environmental sustainability also in turn affect the biosphere, nature and biodiversity. Scientific, political and public concerns have been raised on the direct and indirect impact of biomass harvesting on land use. The environmental impact and true greenhouse gas reduction potential of biofuels are in doubt. The rapid growth of energy crops could divert too much cropland to energy crop production and/or to lead to the cultivation of previously uncultivated land. The changes in land use could bring about significant CO2 emissions and thereby reduce carbon sinks via deforestation and threaten biodiversity by increasing monocultures. Moreover, increasing the amount of plantations can increase the use of fertilisers and need for fresh water. Therefore, the new cultivations could very well jeopardise the expected environmental benefits of bio-based production if not planned and implemented in full compliance with sustainable practices. The global dimensions of biomass sourcing reflect the complexity of the value chain. Transitioning to biofuel crops in one region could mean import of food from another and/ or increase prices of common commodities thereby making them less affordable for daily subsistence. What this demonstrates is that the interconnected effects of land use are hard to trace and extremely difficult to manage. It has even recently been argued that large-scale bioenergy up to 20% of current primary energy consumption from additional harvest of forest biomass is neither sustainable nor greenhouse gas neutral [2]. Achieving real end-to-end sustainability in biofuels Sustainable land use and sustainable feedstock sourcing are without doubt key factors for success for all industry sectors. The Forest industry has for a long time recognised the importance of sound forestry and plantation practices and the importance of certification. The quest for alternative fibre sources has already started; for example, Kimberly-Clark Corp. has committed to cut the amount of wood fibre it uses from natural forests by 50 percent by 2025 [3]. This implies that sustainability is increasingly important, while the global certification of biomass for fibre, energy and fuels still poses a challenge as no broadly accepted common criteria exist. [4] Large plants as a rule need a huge amount of feedstock, which is not necessarily locally available and may require a multi-sourcing approach. The long term security of supply with guaranteed access to sustainable and certified feedstock poses a major challenge to all new entrants. Furthermore, it is not only the feedstock sourcing but the entire biofuels’ production and supply chain that has to be sustainable. The abidance to this sustainability requirement in the EU can be achieved either via checking by Member States or through voluntary schemes, which are approved by the European Commission (EC). [5] Altogether 12 voluntary schemes have been recogniced as of November 2012 Several EU Member States – Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands – have
  5. 5. 5PÖYRY POINT OF VIEW | introduced double counting provisions in their national biofuel legislation. This means that biofuels made from waste or cellulosic feedstock are counted twice against the national biofuel quotas. It is thus possible to improve the competitive edge of new production by making use of the waste and residues from agriculture, forestry operations or urban living. This approach benefits from the complementary use of feedstocks and allows at least a part of the residue materials to be extracted for valuable products. New agroforestry practices may also contribute to feedstock sourcing as might algae once it becomes economically attractive and available in large enough amounts.
  6. 6. 6 | PÖYRY POINT OF VIEW We are entering a new era: “Age of Confluence” When considering the concomitant growth of population and increasing need of food, energy, and fuels, while also increasing the share of biomass, balancing the competing demands for nutrients, water and raw materials are essential for success. Consequently, it is becoming increasingly important to address and understand the complexity, and the critical interconnections with the environment and society, along the value chain from fields to markets. Pöyry has for decades contributed to creating a sustainable future by building on the strong heritage of the company in forest industry. Currently, our “Engineering balanced sustainabilityTM” approach strives to achieve the optimal balance between economic, environmental and social dimensions for every project. However, we know this is only the beginning. The old Chinese curse ‘May you be born in interesting times’ has hit us. It seems obvious that we are heading for a discontinuity, where global roles and actions in trade, politics, industry, technology and social interaction are in the cooking pot, being stirred heavily: and we can be sure that the outcome will change daily life within a globalised world. There are more questions than answers. Sources [1] Biofuels: ethical issues, Nuffield Council on Bioethics, April 2011 [2] E-D. Schulze, C. Körner, B.E. Law, H. Haberl and S. Luyssaert, GCB Bioenergy, 2012, 1-4 [3] Press Release, Kimberly Clark, June 19 2012 [4] J. van Dam, Initiatives in the field of biomass and bioenergy certification, IEA Bioenergy Task40, April 2010 [5] http://ec.europa.eu/energy/renewables/biofuels/ sustainability_schemes_en.htm Bioeconomy encompasses the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food, feed, bio-based products and bioenergy. It includes agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food and pulp and paper production as well as parts of chemical, biotechnological and energy industries. Its sectors have a strong innovation potential due to their use of a wide range of sciences (life sciences, agronomy, ecology, food science and social sciences), enabling and industrial technologies (biotechnology, nanotechnology, information and communication technologies and engineering) and local and tacit knowledge. Hence, we dedicate a great deal of effort trying to understand the emerging key drivers and finding the way through the ongoing transition for us and our client industries and consumers. ‘The Age of Confluence’ is one of the central game changers we have identified, and it is closely related to the reshaping of the bioeconomy – another game changer. It is in our opinion actually not even necessary to talk about a sustainable future: that is the only real option we have. Strivingtoachievezero wasteandbest-in-class performance
  7. 7. 7PÖYRY POINT OF VIEW | Copyright © 2012 Pöyry Management Consulting Oy All rights are reserved to Pöyry Management Consulting Oy. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the prior written permission of Pöyry Management Consulting Oy (“Pöyry”). Disclaimer While Pöyry considers that the information and opinions given in this publication are sound, all parties must rely upon their own skill and judgement when making use of it. This publication is partly based on information that is not within Pöyry’s control. Therefore, Pöyry does not make any representation or warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication. Pöyry expressly disclaims any and all liability arising out of or relating to the use of this publication. This publication contains projections which are based on assumptions subjected to uncertainties and contingencies. Because of the subjective judgements and inherent uncertainties of projections, and because events frequently do not occur as expected, there can be no assurance that the projections contained herein will be realised and actual results may be different from projected results. Hence the projections supplied are not to be regarded as firm predictions of the future, but rather as illustrations of what might happen. Staying on top of your game means keeping up with the latest thinking, trends and developments. We know that this can sometimes be tough as the pace of change continues... At Pöyry, we encourage our global network of experts to actively contribute to the debate - generating fresh insight and challenging the status quo. The Pöyry Point of View is our practical, accessible and issues-based approach to sharing our latest thinking. We invite you to take a look – please let us know your thoughts. AboutthePöyry PointofView R www.linkedin.com/ company/Poyry @PoyryPlc #PoyryPOV www.youtube.com/ PoyryPlc www.facebook.com/ PoyryPlc Join the debate
  8. 8. www.poyry.com Pöyry is an international consulting and engineering company. We serve clients globally across the energy and industrial sectors and locally in our core markets. We deliver strategic advisory and engineering services, underpinned by strong project implementation capability and expertise. Our focus sectors are power generation, transmission & distribution, forest industry, chemicals & biorefining, mining & metals, transportation, water and real estate sectors. Pöyry has an extensive local office network employing about 6,500 experts. AUSTRALIA Melbourne Phone: +61 3 9863 3700 AUSTRIA Vienna Phone: +43 1 6411 800 BRAZIL Curitiba Phone: +55 41 3252 7665 São Paulo Phone: +55 11 5187 5555 CHINA Shanghai Phone: +86 21 6115 9660 FINLAND Helsinki Phone: +358 10 3311 FRANCE Paris Phone: +33 156 88 2710 GERMANY Düsseldorf Phone: +49 211 175 2380 Munich Phone: +49 89 954771 62 INDONESIA Jakarta Phone: +62 21 527 5552 ITALY Milano Phone: +39 02 3659 6900 NEW ZEALAND Auckland Phone: +64 9 918 1100 NORWAY Oslo Phone: +47 4540 5000 RUSSIA Moscow Phone: +7 495 937 5257 SINGAPORE Phone: +65 6733 3331 SPAIN Madrid Phone: +34 615 457 290 SWEDEN Stockholm Phone: +46 8 528 01200 SWITZERLAND Zurich Phone: +41 44 288 9090 THAILAND Bangkok Phone: +66 2 657 1000 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Dubai Phone: +971 4 6069 500 UNITED KINGDOM London Phone: +44 207 932 8200 Oxford Phone: +44 1865 722 660 USA Atlanta Phone: +1 404 351 5707 New York Phone: +1 646 651 1547 Pöyry Management Consulting Photo: colourbox.com

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