EU's action plan to develop a sustainable and circular bioeconomy

The bioeconomy can turn algae into fuel, recycle plastic, convert waste into new furniture or clothing or transform industrial by-products into bio-based fertilisers.

Brussels, 11 October 2018

Today the Commission has put forward an action plan to develop a sustainable and circular bioeconomy that serves Europe's society, environment and economy.

As announced by President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans in their letter of intent accompanying President Juncker's 2018 State of the Union Address, the new bioeconomy strategy is part of the Commission's drive to boost jobs, growth and investment in the EU. It aims to improve and scale up the sustainable use of renewable resources to address global and local challenges such as climate change and sustainable development.

In a world of finite biological resources and ecosystems, an innovation effort is needed to feed people, and provide them with clean water and energy. The bioeconomy can turn algae into fuel, recycle plastic, convert waste into new furniture or clothing or transform industrial by-products into bio-based fertilisers. It has the potential to generate 1 million new green jobs by 2030.

Delivering a sustainable circular bioeconomy requires a concerted effort by public authorities and industry. To drive this collective effort, and based on three key objectives, the Commission will launch 14 concrete measures in 2019, including:

1. Scaling up and strengthening the bio-based sectors:

To unleash the potential of the bioeconomy to modernise the European economy and industries for long-term, sustainable prosperity, the Commission will:

  • establish a €100 million Circular Bioeconomy Thematic Investment Platform to bring bio-based innovations closer to the market and de-risk private investments in sustainable solutions;

  • facilitate the development of new sustainable bio-refineries across Europe.

2. Rapidly deploying bioeconomies across Europe:

Member States and regions, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, have a large underused biomass and waste potential. To address this, the Commission will:

  • develop a strategic deployment agenda for sustainable food and farming systems, forestry and bio-based products;

  • set up an EU Bioeconomy Policy Support Facility for EU countries under Horizon 2020 to develop national and regional bioeconomy agendas;

  • launch pilot actions for the development of bioeconomies in rural, coastal and urban areas, for example on waste management or carbon farming.

3. Protecting the ecosystem and understanding the ecological limitations of the bioeconomy

Our ecosystem is faced with severe threats and challenges, such as a growing population, climate change and land degradation. In order to tackle these challenges, the Commission will:

  • implement an EU-wide monitoring system to track progress towards a sustainable and circular bioeconomy;

  • enhance our knowledge base and understanding of specific bioeconomy areas by gathering data and ensuring better access to it through the Knowledge Centre for the Bioeconomy;

  • provide guidance and promote good practices on how to operate in the bioeconomy within safe ecological limits.

 

Source: The European Commission

Illustration Photo: Municipal solid waste (MSW) converted to a design product (credits: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))

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