On the occasion of ‘BioEconomyUtrecht2016’, the fourth Bioeconomy Stakeholders’ Conference, the European Bioeconomy Alliance (EUBA) calls on the EU to lead a worldwide transition towards a renewable, low-carbon economy. Europe has all of the means necessary to become a global leader in the bioeconomy, if its potential is realised and embraced by European policy makers.
The bioeconomy encompasses the sustainable production of renewable resources and their conversion into food, feed, fibres, materials, chemicals and bioenergy through efficient, innovative technologies. It is already worth €2 trillion annually and employs 22 million Europeans, but holds the potential to significantly further boost competitiveness and long-term economic growth. At a time when the pressure is on to deliver on post-Paris climate commitments, the bioeconomy offers a viable solution to today’s fossil carbon equivalents and has the potential to save up to 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 per year.
In advance of today’s conference, EUBA members, together with other stakeholders in the growing bio-based community have produced a set of recommendations on how Europe can promote bio-based products in public procurement. The report, which will be launched today in Utrecht, outlines what needs to be done at EU, regional and national level to create dynamic new markets for home-grown, EU-sourced bio-based products.
Speaking on behalf of the EUBA, Pekka Pesonen, Secretary General of Copa and Cogeca commented: ‘We are at a pivotal moment in the development of the European bioeconomy. The EU’s strategy is currently being reviewed and we find that we have both great achievements to celebrate as well as some much needed new measures to put in place. Financial tools are needed to boost innovation and investment in existing and new bio-based value chains. In addition, boosting public procurement of bio-based products is one example of how Europe can develop renewable product markets and accelerate the move towards a circular bioeconomy.’
Also speaking on behalf of the Alliance, Jamie Fortescue, Managing Director of Starch Europe, a member of the Primary Food Processors added: ‘Europe has, in abundance, the renewable resources, industrial base and know-how to lead its own bioeconomy revolution. What we now need, to attract more contributors and investment, is open and inclusive discussion underpinned by unwavering, cross-sectoral, political commitment. We want to look back at Utrecht in five years’ time and marvel at what has been achieved in the interim.’
EUBA member EuropaBio’s Industrial Biotech Council Chair, Stephan Tanda, concluded: ‘With the steadfast support and leadership of the European Institutions, the Member States and their regions, huge progress has been made over the past five years with many national authorities setting out their own tailor-made roadmaps towards vibrant and regenerative home-grown bioeconomies. In addition, thanks to the development and launch of the EU’s first ever Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking for €3.7 billion, ground-breaking cross-sectoral innovation has been given a new lease of life. As a result, we will see new partnerships forming across borders and disciplines in the development of smarter, more sustainable products and processes. The potential is there to be harnessed and, with the right support, Europe will lead the way in the development of a world leading bioeconomy.’
Note to the Editor
BioEconomyUtrecht2016 is taking place 12-13 April in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and is hosted by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the European Commission, under the auspices of the Dutch EU Presidency. The aim of the conference is to explore how Europe can enhance its bioeconomy and input into the review of the European Bioeconomy Strategy that will take place in 2016.
Commission Expert Group for Bio-based Products, Working Group Public Procurement of Bio-based Products, Recommendations 2016:
Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A bioeconomy for Europe: http://ec.europa.eu/research/bioeconomy/pdf/bioeconomycommunicationstrategy_b5_brochure_web.pdf