Philippe Vandenbroeck

Scenarios for an emerging biomass regime


In 2007, when the production of biofuels was just gathering momentum, shiftN and Giract joined forces to initiate a collaborative foresight project. The aim of the project was to bring a variety of stakeholders together to develop future scenarios around long-term developments in demand and supply of agri-industrial raw materials over the next 20 years.

This question arose against the background of two key developments: on the one hand there had been a rapid and significant increase of agricultural commodity prices heralding what later would emerge as a worldwide ‘food crisis’. The other very significant development was the rapid emergence of bio-energy policies to bolster energy security and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.


This ambitious undertaking was financially supported by three agrifood companies who recognised in these developments a potentially vital factor in their supply security. The project also received a grant from the UN Foundation. The process has been designed, facilitated and documented by the combined efforts shiftN and Giract. Dr. André Faaij from Copernicus Institute (Utrecht University). A mixed group of 24 stakeholders from industry, civil society (FAO, IISD, WWF, UNCTAD, IFAP, Ethical Sugar) and academia was brought together to engage in a disciplined learning and thinking process between October 2007 and March 2008. Three interactive workshops resulted in a set of four future scenarios that have since been widely disseminated and discussed.


Fields for Food of Fuel 2025 was a successful example of an ambitious foresight project that has been conceptualised, initiated and implemented by shiftN, in collaboration with trusted partner Giract. Other projects initiated by shiftN have been Nutrition & Health 2020 and a Nutrition & Health Open Innovation Lab (in collaboration with Philips Design).