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Towards European Bioeconomy – White Paper Addresses Grand Challenges

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Issue date: 
April 10, 2011
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Bioeconomy means sustainable production and conversion of biomass into food, healthy fibre, industrial products and energy. Over the coming decades Europe wishes to ensure a safe, healthy and prosperous environment for current and future generations. Bioeconomy can make a change for the better in this – provided that its potential in sustainable production and conversion of biological material is fully exploited. These are among the issues tackled by the White Paper “The European Bioeconomy in 2030 - Delivering Sustainable Growth by addressing the Grand Societal Challenges” , which was published in Brussels on 22 March at the final event of the BECOTEPS project – a coordination action among nine European technology platforms that focus on the Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy (KBBE).

Commission preparing an integrated strategy for KBBE

Developing all sectors of Bioeconomy in concert will help tackle the grand challenges we are currently facing, such as sustainable management of natural resources, sustainable production, and mitigating climate change. As these challenges are very much interconnected, cross-sectoral cooperation is of primary importance in order to reach the set goals. Maive Rute, Director of the Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology at Directorate-General for Research emphasizes the need for combined policies. “The Commission’s strategic agenda for Knowledge Based Bio-Economy is currently under preparation, and there are currently public consultations ongoing concerning both biobased economy and resource-efficient Europe, one of the flagships of the Europe’s 2020 strategy. Moreover, stakeholder consultation is ongoing with the Lead Market group at DG enterprise, the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research, KBBE-NET and the Joint Research Centre, the latter possessing land use databases and modeling capacities. The draft strategy will be available by the end of the summer, we hope”, she said.

Sustainable Management of natural resources and production - forest-based sector to pave the way

Bioeconomy can contribute to sustainable management of natural resources e.g. through sustainable intensification: producing more with less carbon footprint, through stewardship to natural resources and balanced production systems: e.g . crops with novel characteristics for more yield with less input, or reduction of water consumption in the production of biomass and food. Carbon footprint can be lowered and climate change thus mitigated by managing agricultural and forest production for less greenhouse gases release, by replacing fossil fuels by biobased resources, by lowering energy consumption in the food and feed chain, and by the next generation biofuels. Production chains can be made more sustainable by integrated resource and energy management in the entire chain, by implementing closed loops and no- or low waste systems, and by cascading use of renewable materials, developing wide product portfolios.

Forest sector has a “good story to tell” for bioeconomy. Forest sector has the potential to provide the cascading use of renewable raw materials, and a wide range of innovative value-added new products. Sustainable Forest Management seeks to balance economic, social and environmental factors and create a wide range of economic activities in the same area of woodland. Income created along the value chain is important in supporting and developing e.g. rural areas.

Download the White Paper “ The European Bioeconomy in 2030 - Delivering Sustainable Growth by addressing the Grand Societal Challenges”. 

For the Commission public consultation on bioeconomy (deadline 2 May 2011), see

For the Commission public consultation on resource efficient Europe (deadline 22 April 2011), see http://ec.europa.eu/environment/consultations/roadmap_re_en.htm


Extpub | by Dr. Radut