This session was streamed as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Summit 18 event, held on the 21st June 2018.
During the 2018 Summit, New Harvest's Erin Kim provided an update on the state of the science of synthetic biology. Materials, energy and just about everything around us is finite. A more thorough understanding of the Earth’s limitations and commodity price volatility has made this a critical realisation for 21st century economies. Still, conserving natural resources, while still enabling economic, environmental and social prosperity presents a significant challenge, especially in a context of increasing demands for “things”, in particular from the 3 billion new middle class consumers predicted to hit the global markets before 2050. An emerging discipline may have at least part of the answer – want more “stuff”? Grow it. Using micro-organisms, like yeasts and bacteria, modifying their DNA to turn them into microscopic factories, chemists and biologists are now able to grow a huge range of resources, from real cow’s milk to meat burgers to high-performance silk fibres.