The European Commission has announced a plan of action to develop a circular, sustainable bioeconomy based around the sustainable use of renewable resources.
The bioeconomy strategy, part of the commission’s wider plan to improve jobs, growth and investment throughout the European Union, aims to increase use of renewable materials and fuels in order to address concerns such as sustainable development and climate change.
The plan would rely on converting biological materials like algae into fuel, recycling and upcycling waste; and producing fertiliser from industrial by-products. Potentially it could provide up to a million new green jobs by 2030.
Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen said: “It has become evident that we need to make a systemic change in the way we produce, consume and discard goods. By developing our bioeconomy – the renewable segment of the circular economy – we can find new and innovative ways of providing food, products and energy, without exhausting our planet’s limited biological resources.”
The development of a sustainable circular bioeconomy will require significant effort from both the public and private sectors. The commission has identified three key objectives for the project:
- Scaling up and strengthening the bio-based sectors – developing sustainable bio-refineries across Europe and establishing a €100 million Circular Bioeconomy Thematic Investment Platform to incentivise bio-bases innovations;
- Rapidly deploying bioeconomies across Europe: establishing a strategic agenda for the deployment of sustainable food, farming and forestry systems and piloting bioeconomic developments in rural, coastal and urban areas; and
- Protecting the ecosystem and understanding the bioeconomy’s ecological limitations. The commission will institute an EU-wide tracking system to monitor progress towards a sustainable bioeconomy, gather and curate data on the project in a dedicated knowledge centre, and provide guidance on good practice to participants.
The commission has agreed to move forward with concrete measures to begin establishing a Europe-wide bioeconomy in 2019.