Launched and adopted in 2012, Europe’s Bioeconomy Strategy addresses the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into vital products and bio-energy.
The strategy is needed to ensure that fossil resources are replaced with sustainable natural alternatives as part of the transition to a low-carbon circular economy. Its main purpose is to streamline existing policy approaches in this area.
Initiated by the Circular Economy Action Plan in 2015, the Bioeconomy Strategy is currently under review, which will provide a good opportunity for new political momentum and orientation. In September this year, the European Commission confirmed its commitment to present the revised Bioeconomy Strategy in 2018.
At the end of September, the European Bioeconomy Alliance (EUBA), an informal alliance of 12 leading European organisations representing sectors active in the bioeconomy in Europe, including European Bioplastics (EUBP), published 5 specific policy asks for the revision of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy.
EUBA calls for the implementation of concrete measures and long-term support for the availability of sustainably produced biomass, fostering investment, and market development.
More specifically, the five policy asks are as follows:
- Biomass: Circular bioeconomy should be an integral part of EU‐level frameworks and policies;
- Investment: Increase funding and improve coherence of financing mechanisms for the circular bioeconomy;
- Investment: Secure the Bio‐Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) 2.0;
- Markets: Incentives for bio‐based products in strategic sectors;
- Markets: Promote bio‐based products’ visibility to stimulate market demand.
Sustainably, efficiently and competitively produced and recycled biomass from the agricultural, forestry and marine sectors (“producing more and better”), and from waste sources can contribute significantly to Europe’s climate commitments as well as to socio‐economic targets, such as creating more jobs, growth and viable rural areas. It can also help reducing Europe’s dependence on imports while increasing the security of supply. In addition, it can enhance biodiversity through sustainable management of land and resources.
Yet, the bioeconomy can only come to its full potential if new technologies are developed to overcome bottlenecks and make biomass production and recycling of bioresources and bionutrients more competitive within a level playing field.
Therefore, the EU should incentivise the use of renewable rather than fossil‐based raw materials in strategic sectors. Stimulating the uptake of bio‐based products in strategic sectors (e.g. packaging, automotive, coatings, construction, cosmetics, energy, fertilizer, homecare, pharmaceutical and textiles industries) will create a long‐term sustainable circular bioeconomy in Europe and reduce the EU’s environmental footprint.
In the short to medium term, the bioeconomy and bio‐based products should be acknowledged and incentives should be introduced into relevant policies and regulations, such as the Ecodesign Directive and EU Ecolabel initiatives, the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, the Waste Framework Directive, the Landfill Directive, the Plastic Strategy, the Renewable Energy Directive post‐2020, and the Fertilisers Regulation.
In the long term, the incentives can be replicated in other policy areas, and counterincentives (e.g. increased tax, limited advertising opportunities) can be introduced for products without renewable raw material content.
You can read the detailed policy asks in the full document here.