Regenerating biodiversity to solve the scarcity of natural resources

Published on 2022-07-01


Piero Manzoni - Founder and CEO at Simbiosi - illustrates the role of technologies and innovative solutions in transforming the agri-food supply chain and restoring the environmental value of urban suburbs, in order to fight climate change and solve the scarcity of natural resources. By applying the concepts of Circular Economy, Gunter Pauli’s Blue Economy, and Nature-Based Solutions, Simbiosi developed its own Neorurale method, aimed at giving back to nature what it needs to regenerate itself, in order to restore the biodiversity of territories and optimize the use of natural resources. That's the mission of Simbiosi: to apply the know-how, the expertise, and the technologies to replicate what nature does itself; in order to create a real and circular symbiosis between people, economy, business, and environment.


What is Simbiosi? How and why did the project start? What problems are you trying to solve?

Simbiosi is an aggregator of technologies, solutions, innovations, and skills to transform the agri-food supply chain and the urban suburbs into resources for cities, in order to fight against climate change. The aim is the regeneration of biodiversity to solve the scarcity of natural resources by creating a real and circular symbiosis between man, economy, business, and the environment. 

This vision makes Simbiosi the first Environment Producer and the first Nature Based Solutions Valley, in order to answer the needs of a more sustainable Agrifood supply chain. 

In 1995, Simbiosi began to think about some critical issues that culminated in three distinct but related areas, which today represent the pillars of world conferences on sustainability.

These areas are:

• climate change

• the loss of biodiversity

• the availability and use of natural resources

In 2050, 10 billion people will inhabit the World and the need for food will increase up to 60% more to feed the entire population. This leads us to some real aspects: one third of arable land worldwide is already in a phase of desertification and degradation caused by the intense monocultural exploitation, the damage of global warming, and the logic of deforestation, with a consequent enormous loss of biodiversity and resources, as well as the growing need for energy and materials.

What is the mission of Simbiosi? 

Based on the concepts of the Blue Economy, Circular Economy, and Nature Based Solutions and observing the efficiency of the natural ecosystems, Simbiosi has developed the know-how, expertise, and technologies to replicate what nature does, optimizing the use of resources. 

We realize this through the aggregation of innovation, proposing global solutions for the responsible use of natural resources - energy, water, materials, and soil - and optimizing their use, and the reduction of the amount of CO2, by recovering resources from waste and producing energy from innovative renewable resources.

The focus is on the fight against climate change providing resilience to the Planet of the future.

Simbiosi aims to redesign urban suburbs in “Smart Lands” and industrial districts of the agro-industrial chain in “Smart Districts”, centers that waste less natural resources (water, soil, energy, materials), and are characterized by lower emissions, absorption of CO2, and the production of innovative and efficient renewable energies.

Through which activities do you achieve it?

Simbiosi is divided into four divisions:

  • Simbiosi Tech - active in industrial districts and in the transformation and process chains, focusing on agrifood
  • Simbiosi Farm - active in the agritech supply chain
  • Simbiosi Renewables – active in the development of innovative renewable energies
  • Innovation Center - active in the field of Open Innovation and Venture Capital

Simbiosi, through its know-how, helps partners to design and implement the transformation of agrifood companies into "virtuous districts" defined as Smart District and urban suburbs into “Smart Land” with a return on investment and positive economic-financial content, which is therefore sustainable from all points of view and not only environmentally.

Smart Districts and Smart Lands leverage innovation to increase the overall efficiency of the system, all through the following principles:

  • Overall solutions for reducing the consumption of water, gas, materials, and electricity in companies, utilities, production processes, and agricultural practices.
  • Innovations to fight climate change through the development of regenerated areas, by stimulating biodiversity and increasing soil fertility, with the help of remote sensing and environmental Block Chains, thus increasing CO2 storage.
  • The waste from industrial supply chains is used to recover precious materials, produce biostimulants, natural soil improvers, and fertilizers, increase the organic matter of the soils and produce energy.
  • Water becomes a thermal value and is also used to optimize energy use, as well as to optimize water consumption.
  • The landscape is recreated according to natural principles, becoming a productive factor for agricultural activity and a lung of biodiversity for districts and cities.
  • The management of the soil and landscape makes it possible to grow better and healthier food, without the use of insecticides and reducing the consumption of natural resources.

What is the role of new technologies in this sector? 

Simbiosi has shown that technologies applied in everyday life can give back to nature what it needs to regenerate itself. One of the best examples is minimal tillage techniques that help avoid insecticides and reduce fertilizers, improving the quality and quantity of crops, as well as the enhancement of the thermal value of groundwater. Through our technology, we are able to heat and cool offices and other buildings by reducing the waste of natural resources while saving money.

In industrial processes, our technologies are able to achieve savings of over 50% of water and electricity with significant effects on the lack of CO2 emissions.

I think that the use of technologies, nowadays, is essential to make this sector work and make human beings able to survive in the next few years. We cannot continue in the same way as in the last few decades. We have before us what he has given us.

What are the sector trends and how do you believe the industry is evolving? What are the challenges and opportunities and how does Simbiosi position itself? 

Simbiosi is aimed at the entire agri-food chain and the trends today are quite clear. Every market strategy toward the final consumer must take into consideration multiple variables related to the product/service. Among these, the following stand out: quality, safety, traceability, environmental sustainability, social sustainability, circularity, and innovation. Actors such as industry, municipalities, and landowners see a transformation towards those variables linked to the production process, the supply of ecosystem and environmental services, and places redesigned for a better life for man, for the environment, and for biodiversity.

The challenge today is not just the environment, but the whole concept of sustainability and circular economy.

Simbiosi positions itself on the market in an authoritative way with solutions already active for over twenty years and with its own departments ready to respond to the needs of customers, be they industries, municipalities, and landowners.

How do you participate in spreading the best practices and technologies in agrifood?

We join several associations which deal with sustainability, circular economy, and best practices for future needs. Our aim is to spread knowledge in replicating Smart Land and Smart District in order to apply it to exploited suburbs environment. We hope that our successful experiment could inspire to achieve awareness about what people, industries, and cities can do for our planet through knowledge and technologies. 

How do you foster this diffusion? How can one collaborate and learn from Simbiosi? 

Simbiosi proposes holistic solutions in resources optimization, along the complete food cycle, and is in a position to adapt and customize the solution to the real overall needs of the customer: industry, municipalities, and landowners.

In the case of the food industry, Simbiosi can offer the solution called “Smart District” where the solution takes into account the internal condition of the production plant of the customer, with the best resource optimization and saving. It also connects the industrial plant to the nearby territories and their needs obtaining a global and whole optimization of territory resources.

A Smart District gives at the same time advantage also to the industrial plant, implementing systems for reducing CO2 in the atmosphere, introducing regenerative agriculture, increasing fertility, improving CO2 sink, improving biodiversity ecosystems and saving material, producing fertilizers, requalifying territories and the beauty of the landscape. Technologies for the efficiency of natural resources and waste valorization under the circular economy principles, solutions for biodiversity regeneration, and for soil protection and nutrition are always considered.

The same concept is valid for municipalities and also for landowners and for utilities.  
Many solutions for industries and municipalities are just applicated and are visible on

About the author

Piero Manzoni

Founder & CEO at Simbiosi