testata logo EDA
Blue economy 2.0
Interview to Gunter Pauli
di Paola Fraschini

In questo articolo parliamo di:
Blue Economy
10 anni. 100 innovazioni. 100 milioni di posti di lavoro

Nuova edizione
di Gunter Pauli
Sfoglia le prime pagine
Acquista on-line
Scarica il modulo d'ordine

After four years from the first edition of the Blue Economy we have made great strides, and it’s the time to publish a new edition completely revised of this fundamental scientific environmentalism text. Unlike the green economy, the blue economy does not require companies to invest more to save the environment. Indeed, with less use of capital is able to create more streams of income and at the same time to build social capital. The results are there and you can see, all over the world. Let’s talk with the author Gunter Pauli, a businessman and economist, founder of Zeri (Zero Emission Research Initiative) and President of Novamont.

The subtitle says "10 years. 100 innovations. 100 million jobs”. Four years later the 1. edition, at what point we are?
Where are we: amazing the projects of the Blue Economy have mobilized over 4 billion euro in investments and have generated an estimated 3 million jobs. That is beyond my wildest expectations.

Has the blue economy overcome the main obstacle in its path, the skepticism of the people?
Of course there is skepticism because everyone is bombarded by the bad news, and everyone is driven towards more analysis and study. However, when I start demonstrating the portfolio of opportunities – people are baffled – “How come we did not know or did not see that we have some many chances right here with what we have!”.

Will a model based on the blue economy ensure a good lifestyle for the 9 billion people who will inhabit the planet in 2050?
I do not think we have time to wait for 2050. One of the main shifts we need in our societies is to stop pushing everything to the next generation! We need to become impatient – do things NOW – because we feel and sense this is the right thing to do. We are too much guided by numbers and hard facts – well let me tell you the only thing we know is that the facts are going in the wrong direction so we better imagine how to do better – MUCH BETTER and do it now.

The book also talks about Swarovski, in which way the blue economy connects with jewels?
Indeed we talk about jewels made from crystals and that project is actually one of those implemented but perhaps more important is that since we discovered this Japanese artists who makes Jewelry from Rice. And that is not just imitating the color structure of the humming bird, that is using useless straw to make valuable jewels of immense beauty. You know once you let an idea out of the box and share it freely around the world, then you get many other concrete initiatives. The technique of making jewelry from rice straw (converting the silica in the straw) is now already introduced in Bhutan!

There is also the italian case of Porto Torres petrochemical plant (Sardinia). Would you please tell us something about it?
Italy has the largest and the most impressive application of the Blue Economy. While we have 188 projects around the world implemented, there are less than 20 in Europe but Porto Torres, is the star! The team of Novamont is putting the last touches on the conversion of an old defunct petrochemical plant of ENI into a biorefinery that has cardoon (thistles) as its feedstock. Imagine: a competitive biochemistry using perennial plants considered weeds! Now this is not the first time that Catia Bastioli and her team succeeds in this challenge – she started by converting old buildings and laboratories of Montedison into the research labs and small production units of bioplastics. Once this facility is open then many eyes will open and realize that Europe has a grand future in the re-industrialization of the economy and the linking of the productivity of the land with the quality products and services. We need simply using what we have as productive streams (like weeds) and investment capital (like old petrochemical facilities that cannot compete anymore and pollute the environment).