EuropaBio response to the public consultation on European bioeconomy policy
Brussels, 27 August, 2021
EuropaBio supports an ambitious implementation of the updated 2018 EU Bioeconomy Strategy and welcomes the activity to assess the progress of the Strategy and the 14 actions outlined therein.
In the bioeconomy, land use and food security are optimised through a sustainable, resource-efficient, and largely waste-free utilisation of Europe’s renewable raw materials, thereby contributing significantly to a circular economy with reduced dependence on fossil resources. It also plays an important role in boosting Europe’s competitiveness by revitalising rural areas, thus providing jobs and growth over the coming decades.
Progress in the development of a bio-based economy has been supported by increases in EU R&I funds through e.g., the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), which attracted investments, spurred innovation, and created new value chains. The importance of research and innovation in the bioeconomy was reemphasized in the 2018 Bioeconomy Strategy and is now demonstrated through the continuation of a dedicated institutional partnership, the Circular Bio-Based Europe Joint Undertaking, as well as through the Horizon Europe Cluster 6 on Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment.
There is also clear potential to further stimulate market uptake of bio-based products. Visibility and awareness of bio-based products and their benefits should be promoted to drive demand. The EU could also integrate references to bio-based content in green and public procurement actions.
The EU policy landscape has changed since the publication of the Bioeconomy Strategy in 2018, most notably through the European Green Deal and its many associated strategies. There are synergies between the Bioeconomy Strategy and various Green Deal initiatives including the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Farm to Fork strategy, the Biodiversity Strategy, and the Industrial Strategy. It is critical to integrate the bioeconomy throughout relevant EU policies and to reinforce the interplay between key EU strategies to achieve the goals set out in the Bioeconomy Strategy as well as the overall European Green Deal ambitions. All facets of the bioeconomy, also including the blue bioeconomy, should be considered and built upon.
An innovation-driven bioeconomy, with increased sustainability as its end goal, can provide renewability, circularity and multifunctionality, whilst helping to deliver solutions to the UN SDGs and European Green Deal ambitions. Within the bioeconomy, industrial biotechnology plays a central role as an enabling technology, harnessing the power of microbes for industrial and manufacturing applications to develop a wide variety of bio-based chemicals, materials, pharmaceuticals, food, feed, and fuels. This helps reduce CO2 emissions, provide sustainable alternatives to fossil-based products, improve resource efficiency of industrial processes, and deliver solutions to help improve health and nutrition.
Industrial biotechnology is also recognized as a central pillar of innovation in Europe and is established as one of Europe’s Key Enabling Technologies (KETs), including in the recent Staff Working Document on strategic dependencies and capacities published as part of the update to the 2020 EU Industrial Strategy.
As global challenges become increasingly pressing, so does the need to prioritise and invest in innovative, enabling solutions from the bioeconomy sectors and cutting-edge technologies like industrial biotechnology. Also, to engage decision makers and stakeholders from the fields of agriculture, regional policy, environment, industry, climate, trade, energy and research and innovation, amongst other sectors, to speed up the implementation of the bioeconomy, which in turn contributes to equipping the EU to deliver concrete results on Green Deal ambitions.
To view our full response to the public consultation, please click here