BioPreferred Program: Exercising Your Power as a Consumer

Updated: Jun 21



The moment I was introduced to the bioeconomy, I loved how it challenged me. I love that it approaches serious climate and social issues by making them seem more like opportunities instead of insurmountable obstacles. The bioeconomy sees problems as exciting new chances to improve and succeed. But, as thrilling and enthralling as the bioeconomy is to me, I realize it may not strike a mainstream audience the same way.


"Bioeconomy" sounds advanced and inherently technical, leaving many people with the impression that it's a topic that should be left to the experts, whoever they may be. It's true, the bioeconomy is a technical area, but that doesn't mean it won't inevitably extend into the lives of the very everyday people who choose to push it from their minds. The bioeconomy is something that none of us can get away from and something that, if people understood, they would undoubtedly embrace.


Introducing the bioeconomy to mainstream society and everyday conversation is about making connections. A 2019 poll found that 8 in 10 people not only believe in climate change but believe that it's time to take action. That's quite a few people. Climate change is no longer a topic reserved for graduate research labs and higher-education classroom discussion. Climate change as a global issue has closed the gap and is now so mainstream that 8 in 10 people surveyed were prepared to take immediate action. Ordinary people are ready to act, but how? For some, climate change is recognized, but they aren't sure what to do, so they do nothing. For others, their actions are small or symbolic. Climate change, the issue, has entered the mainstream, but the solution to it hasn't quite bridged the gap yet. The solution to which I am referring is the bioeconomy.


Supporting the bioeconomy is how we take action for the climate today. Contrary to its technical vibe, the bioeconomy isn't just for scientists & researchers. The bioeconomy includes the average consumer, and it desperately needs their support. 8 in 10 people were ready to take action, and supporting the bioeconomy is how they do it. More specifically, purchasing biobased products is how they do it.

This is where most people hit a snag. How do we know what qualifies as a biobased product? Fortunately, the hard part has already been taken care of if we know what to look for. In 2002, the United States government put into effect legislation referred to as the Farm Bill which created the Biopreferred program. The goal of the Biopreferred program was to encourage the purchase of biobased products. By encouraging the purchase of biobased products at the federal level, included companies experience increased revenue, added exposure, and more significant expansion opportunities. Although the Biopreferred program was initially aimed at governmental purchasing decisions, its resources can be effectively applied at the consumer level and achieve the same, if not a more outstanding, result.


You can find the Biopreferred directory here. All you have to do is search for the category of goods you are needed, and the system will return several biobased options and methods of purchase. Patronizing biobased businesses means a more environmentally sustainable life for you and a more stable business for companies trying to compete with the established giants.


It's time to connect peoples' wish to take action with a concrete means of doing so, which means connecting them with bioeconomy resources, like the Biopreferred program, so that they can live the environmentally-conscious lives they desire.


[P.S. Biobased product reviews will be coming to the blog soon. Stay tuned.]


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