The bioeconomy means the production of renewable biological resources and the conversion of these resources, residues, by-products and side streams into value added products, such as food, feed, bio-based products, services and bioenergy (EU Bioeconomy Strategy 2012).
This article aims to give an overview on what is happening in regards Bioeconomy policy development on European level. While Bioeconomy as a word is included in the work programme for Societal Challenge 2, it is also a concept relevant for Societal Challenge 5 topics, from the point of view of (bio-based) raw materials, circular economy, nature-based solutions, and climate change.
The European Bioeconomy Manifesto was published and presented by the European Bioeconomy Stakeholder Panel to the Research and Innovation Commissioner Carlos Moedas at the end of November 2017.
The manifesto is an important boost for the Bioeconomy development in Europe, not the least because of the representative group of stakeholders who stand behind it. The Stakeholder Panel (footnote), who prepared the manifesto, brings together stakeholders from various different sectors: industry, research, primary producers, regions and NGOs. A common manifesto from sectors with different agendas gives a strong message to policy makers in Europe to further support the move towards a biobased economy.
The manifesto is divided into four sections: 1.) Introduction, 2.) Guiding Principles for Development of the Bioeconomy, 3.) Actions, 4.) Recommendations to the EU and Member States.
The introduction part describes the bioeconomy, the need for a bioeconomy manifesto and the purpose for the manifesto. The Guiding Principles part sets the sustainability principles on which bioeconomy should be built upon as well as the key ingredients for successful bioeconomy such as cooperation, stable legal framework, investment in long-term research and innovation and importance of regions and rural renaissance.
The Actions part is divided in two: actions for stakeholders and recommendations for actions for the EU and the Member States. These two parts constitute as the most important part of the manifesto.
In the actions for stakeholders, the manifesto highlights for instance open science and importance of European research programmes, bridging the innovation gap by public-private partnerships, embracing the circular economy, strengthening the inter-regional cooperation and researching and assessing biomass potentials among other things.
In the Recommendations to the EU and Member States section the manifesto urges actions in order support and stimulate market creating, supports the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to better support new business opportunities from the Bioeconomy in the rural regions. The manifesto calls for investments in the future of the bioeconomy and support to frontrunners and innovations while maintaining biodiversity and EU nature legislation.
The EU Bioeconomy Strategy was published in 2012 and has been reviewed in 2017. An update of the Strategy is foreseen for 2017/ 2018, to which the manifesto is also a valuable input.
Besides being endorsed by the panel, the manifesto can be endorsed by any organisation by submitting organisation’s name and logo to DG RTD Bioeconomy Panel.