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Bioeconomy for Europe

Bioeconomy for Europe

This communication on bioeconomy* outlines a wide-ranging strategy to move the European Union towards greater and more sustainable use of renewable resources in the face of environmental, energy and food security challenges, while stimulating economic growth and creating jobs.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Innovating for sustainable growth: a bioeconomy for Europe (COM(2012) 60 final of 13.2.2012).

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THIS COMMUNICATION DO?

The strategy’s goal is a more innovative and low-emission economy, reconciling these diverse but interconnected challenges and embracing the sustainable use of renewable biological resources in industry. In doing this, biodiversity and environmental protection should be assured, stimulating economic growth and creating jobs.

With the world’s population expected to increase by more than 30 % in the next 40 years, meeting these complex challenges requires research and innovation in order to achieve rapid, concerted and sustained change.

KEY POINTS

For its implementation, the strategy presents a bioeconomy action plan, which focuses on three main areas, as indicated below.

  • Ensuring investment in research, innovation and skills for the bioeconomy, through EU funding, national funding and partnerships with the private sector. Supporting the development of bioeconomy curricula in universities and vocational training schemes is an important element of this.
  • Better coordination and engagement with policy makers and stakeholders on bioeconomic issues, through the creation of advisory bioeconomy panels at all levels. A bioeconomy observatory should monitor progress, while the strategy also proposes regular conferences of interested parties. International cooperation and the sharing of expertise on food security, climate change and the issue of sustainable biomass supply are to be encouraged.
  • Opening up markets and improving competitiveness in the bioeconomy sector by boosting sustainable production and promoting waste conversion into new products. The strategy also promotes the importance of standards and consistent ways of assessing sustainability, as well as facilitating ‘green’public procurement.

BACKGROUND

With an annual turnover of around €2 trillion and employing around 22 million people, the bioeconomy is already one of the most important components of the EU economy.

It is estimated that direct research funding associated with the bioeconomy strategy under Horizon 2020 could generate about 130,000 jobs and €45 billion by 2025.

KEY TERM

* Bioeconomy: an economy using biological resources from the land and sea as well as waste, including food wastes, as inputs to industry and energy production. It also covers the use of bio-based processes to green industries.

For more information, see the European Commission’s Bioeconomy website.

last update 23.04.2015

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