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[genet-news] BUSINESS & POLICY: Biotech enzymes crucial to solving the climate crisis say Novozymes and WWF



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:  BIOTECHNOLOGY CRUCIAL TO SOLVING THE CLIMATE CRISIS

SOURCE: Novozymes, Denmark

AUTHOR: Press Release

URL:    http://www.novozymes.com/en/MainStructure/PressAndPublications/PressRelease/2009/Biotechnology+crucial+to+solving+the+climate+crisis.htm

DATE:   25.03.2009

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BIOTECHNOLOGY CRUCIAL TO SOLVING THE CLIMATE CRISIS

New initiative by Novozymes and WWF sets out to map how and where low carbon biosolutions can eliminate the first billion tonnes of CO 2 and pave the way to a green economy.

The climate crisis has made it more urgent than ever to find a sustainable way of developing our society. So far, the main effort to combat climate change has focused on reducing the negative impact of the big emmitters. While important, this neither secures all the reductions needed nor does it provide a sustainable economic model for creating jobs, growth and a prosperous society.

>From improvements to solutions

This makes it imperative that world leaders grasp the opportunities of a low carbon economy, and support and boost the business and industry that provide us with the low carbon solutions, the world is in urgent need for.

The biotechnology industry is such an opportunity because the reductions secured by biotech solutions greatly outnumbers the emissions from its production. Looking at only one specific technology, the enzyme production of Novozymes emitted 1 million tonnes of CO2 eq last year ? but in total helped reduce around 28 million tonnes of CO2 eq. This is because enzymes save large amounts of energy when applied to the production of a varity of every day products, such as paper, washing powder and bioethanol.

With this climate positive balancesheet the biotechnology industry is set to become a winner in a new low carbon economy. It is an important part of the solutions needed to secure big emmissions cuts while creating succesfull business models. And we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. Today, only a small part of the potential of biotech is realized. 

The ?invisible? solution
Coming together in the Biosolutions Initiative ? Eliminating the first billion tonnes of CO2, WWF and Novozymes now set out to change this:

?Low carbon biotech solutions are a good example of hidden or invisible climate solutions that are all around us already today but are easy to overlook for policymakers, investors and companies. Fighting climate change is also about innovation and finding smarter ways to do things, and biotechnology help us do just that. Accelerating and exploring the further potential of this industry is a crucial part of the climate solutions we ar
 e looking for.? says, Kim Carstensen, Director of WWF?s Global Climate Initiative.

?Novozymes is committed to improve and develop biotech solutions in the pursuit of a sustainable global economy. What we offer our customers is to produce more from less input, use less energy in their processes and generate less waste. In order to unlock the full potential of biotechnology, policy makers need to integrate low carbon biotech solutions as part of all major climate strategies. Together with WWF we want to inspire decision makers in building low carbon solutions for our society.? says, Steen Riisgaard, CEO of Novozymes.

NOTE:
The Bio Solutions Initiative ? Eliminating the first billion tonnes of CO2 will map the first strategic billion tonnes of CO2 reductions from low carbon biotechnology. The partnership will also engage in dialogue with central policy makers and create low carbon business partnerships to ensure that low carbon bio tech solutions become an integrated part of all major climate projects and initiatives.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:  SEARCH ON FOR BEST CLIMATE BIOSOLUTIONS

SOURCE: WWF International, Switzerland

AUTHOR: Press Release

URL:    http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/footprint/climate_deal/news/?uNewsID=160281

DATE:   25.03.2009

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SEARCH ON FOR BEST CLIMATE BIOSOLUTIONS

Global environment organization WWF and leading enzyme biotechnology company Novozymes today announced an initiative which will map how and where low carbon biosolutions can eliminate the first strategic billion tonnes of CO2.

?Low carbon biotech solutions are a good example of hidden or invisible climate solutions that are all around us already today but are easily overlooked by policymakers, investors and companies,? said Kim Carstensen, Director of WWF?s Global Climate Initiative.

The biotechnology industry is an important part of the climate solutions the world is in need of because the emissions reductions secured by biotech solutions are factors of magnitude greater than the emissions involved in creating them. Enzymes, for instance, save large amounts of energy when applied to the production of a variety of every day products, such as paper, washing powder and bioethanol.

Last year, Novozymes emitted about one million tonnes of CO2 eq in the production of raw materials and enzymes but helped eliminate around 28 million tonnes of CO2 eq emissions over enzyme free production.

?What we offer our customers is to produce more from less input, use less energy in their processes and generate less waste,? said Steen Riisgaard, CEO of Novozymes.

?Clearly, biotechnology is therefore an important route to securing big emissions cuts while creating succesful business models.?

With only a small portion of the potential of biotech so far realized, the joint Biosolutions Initiative ? Eliminating the first billion tonnes of CO2 will seek out key and priority areas where biotechnology solutions can be applied to achieve emissions cuts.

Low carbon winners of future need support now

The partnership will also engage in dialogue with central policy makers and create low carbon business partnerships to ensure that low carbon bio tech solutions become an integrated part of all major climate projects and initiatives.

?So far, the main effort to combat climate change has focused on reducing the negative impact of the big emmitters,? said Carstensen. ?While important, this neither secures all the reductions needed nor does it provide a sustainable economic model for creating jobs, growth and a prosperous society.?

The project aims to contribute to accelerating and exploring the further potential of biotechnology as a crucial part of overall climate solutions.

?Fighting climate change is also about innovation and finding smarter ways to do things, and biotechnology helps us do just that,? said Carstensen.

The project will also identify how to best deploy emerging bio-solutions .

In order to unlock the full potential of biotechnology, policy makers need to integrate low carbon biotech solutions as part of all major climate strategies,? said Riisgaard.

?Together with WWF we want to inspire decision makers in building low carbon solutions for our society.?



                                  PART 3

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TITLE:  ENZYMES A POTENTIAL PLANET-SAVER, BUT HEAVY PATENTING NECESSARY, INDUSTRY SAYS

SOURCE: Intellectual Property Watch, Switzerland

AUTHOR: Catherine Saez

URL:    http://www.ip-watch.org/weblog/2009/04/07/enzymes-a-potential-planet-saver-but-heavy-patenting-necessary-industry-says/

DATE:   07.04.2009

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ENZYMES A POTENTIAL PLANET-SAVER, BUT HEAVY PATENTING NECESSARY, INDUSTRY SAYS

A dominant global producer of enzymes is arguing that enzymes in biotechnology can make a significant contribution to global environment improvement, but this effort comes with heavy patenting by the company.

A representative of Danish biotechnology company Novozymes recently spoke on industrial uses of enzymes. Novozymes holds 47 percent of the global market share and are developing enzymes and microorganisms for a number of different applications such as detergents, starch, fuel ethanol, textile, food and animal feed.

The presentation came at a 31 March event in Geneva sponsored by the Biotechnology Industry Organization and law firm Sidley Austin.

Enzymes are used ?all over the world on a daily basis as we do our laundry at home,? said Nickie Inger-Spile, vice president for Europe at Novozymes. In the 1960s in Copenhagen, some of the biggest hospitals turned to Novozymes to help find a solution to eliminate blood stains on linen as the cleaning was consuming a lot of detergent and energy, she said. The company then produced a protein-degrading enzyme, able to degrade the protein in blood, allowing much lower temperatures and less detergent, she said. This was Novozymes? first enzyme.

Enzymes also can remove the need for phosphate in animal feed, and replace artificial colouring, flavours and preservatives. They are found, for example, in cheese, beer and wine, which could not be manufactured without them.

Enzyme technology is a green technology, Inger-Spile claimed, and contributes to saving resources and reducing water pollution, she said.

Novozymes has produced studies claiming that biotechnology in this field could save a lot of energy. ?If you want to claim that this is the most environmentally friendly solution, then you have to do your homework,? she said. The company claims their technology helps save the world emission of carbon dioxide by 28 million tons per year (the equivalent of the emissions of five million cars).

On 25 March, Novozymes started an initiative with global conservation organisation the World Wildlife Fund, which will map how and where low carbon biosolutions can eliminate the first strategic billion tons of carbon dioxide. According to the WWF website, the biotechnology industry is part of the climate solution. Enzymes, for example, act in favour of energy saving when applied to the production of paper, washing powder and bioethanol, they said.

Inger-Spile, however, dismissed criticism by human rights defenders who linked the bioethanol to higher prices of tortilla in Mexico and to rising American corn prices. Production of bioethanol increased domestic demand for corn, they said, and Mexico is dependent on corn imports from the US. She said Novozymes has been challenged by that discussion because ?we want to find out what is right and what is wrong.?

?We believe that the way it is done there [in the US Midwest], it is sustainable as only two percent of arable land is used for bioethanol production? and the yield increase by industry paid for itself, she said.

The second generation of biofuel is being researched at the moment, she said, claiming that Novozymes would have a new technology next year. ?You will be able to use straw to produce t-shirts,? she said. This technology will allow the use of waste to make fuel, and feedstock containing cellulosic biomass such as stalks, leaves, wood chips and husks of corn could be used. Municipal waste and energy crops such as switch grass could also be used. The technology should allow less fertilizer and several harvests a year.

Aggressive patent policy

With about 5,000 patents and 30 patent officers working on patenting discoveries and following-up their competitors? patents, Novozymes has a defensive and offensive patent policy, said Inger-Spile. ?We are a little aggressive in our patent policy and we patent a lot of what we do,? she said.

Novozymes had some challenges with China, but Inger-Spile said the situation has improved over the last five years because the Chinese authorities have been much more serious about enforcing regulations.

Although enzymes are in everyday life products, consumers are unaware of their use in what they buy as enzymes do not appear in ingredients list on food packaging. They are categorised as processing aids, Inger-Spile later told Intellectual Property Watch.

This is confirmed and clarified by the recently published package of EU regulations on food additives, food enzymes and food flavourings said Youri Skaskevitch from the Association of Manufacturers and Formulators of Enzyme Products, in a later interview. ?It is,? he said, ?global practice not to require labelling of processing aids on food packaging.?


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