by Ton Runneboom
Among the many books that try to catch a glimpse of the future, More with Less stands out as lucid and to the point. Moreover, it has at its core a subject often overlooked in most literature: the amazing developments in chemistry and biotechnology.
Most discussions on the future concentrate on ICT, this book shows that there are vast fields of scientific, business and manufacturing developments beyond that. Developments that will as much change and shape the world as ICT and internet.
The authors capture these developments under the term ‘precision’. For instance, they show that mankind can use precision in agriculture in order to feed 10 billion people – and that this precision can be achieved with present-day science and technology. Precision agriculture does away with preventive treatments and their collateral side effects, and makes use as much as possible of natural enemies of pests and toxic microorganisms. Therefore, precision agriculture does not just increase yields but also reduces environmental impact. It’s the combination of these factors, the economy and ecology, that runs through the book as the decisive argument for the propagation of precision. It is a total concept of precision inclusive of all aspects of producing anything. The authors devote much attention to the business opportunities that arise from precision in the rapidly expanding knowledge base in chemistry, biotechnology and manufacturing. Many opportunities arise from what is typically called waste today, i.e. eliminating and/or processing of present day waste. Furthermore new medicines and materials will be tuned for their specific tasks. The ‘biobased economy’ arising from these opportunities is progressing and for insiders just around the corner.
A book that stimulates the thought processes, a fine compilation of arguments that have been around for a while in the biobased business community but have not received much attention in public discussion, so far as it is a slow step by step improvement.