Increased need for a holistic approach to research on sustainable utilization

Matís’ scientific activity has increased every year since the company’s establishment in 2007. Our research and developmental work has increasingly been funded through international cooperation, through institutions, companies and funds in the Nordic countries and in Europe, but also in other locations, both in North America and in Africa.

Within the Research and Innovation division, our work has been focused on research directed at improving food safety and supporting the sustainable management of natural resources. The aim is always to ensure the quality of food products and the environment through the application of advanced chemical, microbial and genetic research. The division also provides monitoring and security services for the government in these disciplines aimed among other things, to assess the risks caused by harmful substances, microorganisms and genetic changes in food and environment. We increased our focus on research and innovation even more, during organizational changes in the middle of last year.

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    As technological disruptions are taking place all around us, increased emphasis on research and innovation is an obvious step for Matís, to continue the company’s participation in future scientific work. Already, the division has received funding for important research that can determine future sustainable living not only for Icelanders but others as well.

    In line with increased focus on sustainable food manufacturing and food security, always keeping in mind the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (SDG17), the focus on safe food value chain, has strengthened Matís’ existence. Innovations driven by creativity and the consumers’ requirements for comprehensive research and scientific integrity, have brought innovation towards research and development in the field of ingredients and product development; for consumers, unsupported opinions no longer suffice, consumers want scientific data to support claims made about their food.

    Over the last few years, the division have worked on large international projects. These include MareFrame, ClimeFish, SAF21, Prime Fish, FarFish, DiscardLess, Sylfeed, EuropPlanet, EuroMix, Virus-X, Macro Fuels, SilhouetteOfSeaweed, Authent-NET, Astro Lakes and other large projects. Additional project are in the pipeline. It is important to look comprehensively to the resources utilized in Iceland and elsewhere. Trusted, unpolluted resources will ensure health and the use of resource must be sustainable.

    It is believed that the world population will reach 8.5 billion in 2030 and to 9.7 billion in 2050, indicating increased pressure on earth’s resources, suggesting that holistic approach to the utilization is the only way forward. The term bioeconomy is used to explain such approach, where all things are considered when evaluating the effects of the resource utilization by humans – this approach includes an economy based on the exploitation of living resources of land and sea that seeks to maximize the benefits without depleting the limited resources.

    A number of projects within our division specifically address these aspects of sustainable utilization of resources. New industrial projects that put focus on sustainable use of biological materials (Bio-based Industries) have been part of our focus during the last year. Such project, MacroCascade and Sylfeed, are increasing in number as all stakeholders, governments NGOs, companies and other business are considering ways for their competitive edge to remain while using limited resource in a sustainable manner.

    Pressure to put into use a comprehensive strategy for sustainable use of the bioeconomy has never been greater; just look at the SDG17 above. Just over a year ago, delegations from over 195 nations reached a historic agreement to reverse climate changes that have and will caused global warming. Governments of all states must also reach an agreement on the sustainable use of bioeconomy as a whole, not just its individual constituent parts.

    When that happens, Iceland will be prepared for full participation.