Monday, 13 February 2012

Strategy for a EU Bio-based Economy

Today (13 February 2012) the European Commission published its new strategy on the Bioeconomy entitled ‘Innovating for Sustainable Growth: a Bioeconomy for Europe'. As a key component implementing two of the EU2020 flagships, the Innovation Union and Resource Efficient Europe, the new plan will contribute to the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Europe needs renewable biological resources for secure and healthy food and feed, as well as for materials, energy, and other products. The strategy and action plan will help drive the transition from a fossil-based economy to a sustainable bioeconomy in Europe, with research and innovation at its core. The bio-based economy is an area in which the European Union cannot risk being left behind in this area.

And SusChem is already playing its part in building a coherent, cross-sectoral and inter-disciplinary approach to a more innovative and low carbon society including the sustainable use of renewable biological resources for industrial purposes.

SusChem action
The EU process and chemical industry has been working hard to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the past decades. But the industry recognizes the need to develop and implement improved resource efficient and environmentally friendly processes to replace carbon, energy and water intensive production. This includes the use of bio-based feedstock.

The proposed Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) has exactly these targets; aiming to reduce fossil energy use in the process industries in Europe by 30% by 2030 and reduce non-renewable, primary raw material consumption by 20%. Together these objectives will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of process industry.

A prime objective of the EU Action Pan is to promote competitiveness and foster world-class entrepreneurship in EU bioeconomy sectors, including enhanced innovation roles for SMEs. The SusChem INNOVA project BIOCHEM is already working to help SMEs across Europe assess their capabilities and potential in bio-based markets and presents a unique opportunity for SMEs to enter and engage with opportunities in the emerging bio-based economy.

The EU Action Plan calls for the creation of stakeholder platforms at Member State level to facilitate action within countries and also coordination on between states. SusChem has pioneered a network of 11 national Technology platforms that contribute effectively to sustainable chemistry and bio-tech activities in just this way at both Member State and European level.

These and many other actions that SusChem is involved in to support the developing European Bioeconomy will be discussed at the 10th SusChem Stakeholder event – Partnering for Sustainable Innovation through Chemistry - to be held on 17 to 18 April 2012 in Brussels.

Commission initiative
The development of the Sustainable Bio-based Economy Strategy was led by Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn (RTD) with the support of Vice-President Tajani (ENTR), and Commissioners Cioloş (AGRI), Damanaki (MARE) and Potočnik (ENV). It will be presented to Member States at the Competitiveness Council on 21 February 2012.

The need to increase public funding for bioeconomy research and innovation is recognised under Horizon 2020: €4.7 billion has been proposed for the Challenge “Food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research, and the bioeconomy”.

More information on this initiative, including the Communication, can be found here.

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