EC proposes Bioeconomy strategy
(CS) The European Commission has adopted a shift in strategy to make Europe's economy more sustainable and environmentally friendly, with a greater emphasis on renewable resources.
The “Innovating for Sustainable Growth: a Bioeconomy for Europe” strategy and action plan outlines an approach to the issue of using renewable biological resources to secure food and feed, as well as materials, energy, and other products.
Cutting across different sectors, industries and disciplines, the plan rests on three main pillars.
Investment, markets and coordination
Investment in research, innovation and skills for the bioeconomy should include funding, both from the EU and individual states, as well as private investment. This area also includes the enhancing of synergies with other policy initiatives.
Additionally, a development of markets and competitiveness in bioeconomy sectors is envisioned. For example, the conversion of waste into value-added products could count among one of many ways to improve production and resource efficiency.
Waste disposal currently costs the EU taxpayer between 55 and 90 euros per tonne, producing some 170 million tonnes of CO. In a bioeconomic cycle these waste materials could be re-used, creating value and new products.
At a recent conference in Brussels it was shown how the bioeconomy can work beyond the typically associated elements of renewable energies for electricity production, but also affect areas such as biotechnologies in the sectors health and well-being, as well as food production, or also the production of plastic bags and bottles from re-used waste and biological materials.
The third area of the strategy includes plans to reinforce policy coordination and bringing together various stakeholders for conferences, as well as a Bioeconomy Panel and Observatory.
“It is a necessity”
In a press statement, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said, “Europe needs to make the transition to a post-petroleum economy. Greater use of renewable resources is not longer just an option, it is a necessity.”
The strategy is seen as a driving factor moving from a fossil-based to a bio-based society.
Currently, the EU bioeconomy employs over 22 million people, around 9% of total employment in the EU, creating a turnover of nearly 2 trillion euros. It includes agriculture, forestry, food, pulp and paper production, as well as chemical, biotechnological and energy industries.
By 2025 it is estimated that every euro invested in the EU-funded bioeconomy research and innovation will trigger 10 euros of added value.