On 12 and 13 april 2016, the European BioEconomy Manifesto was launched by Dutch presidency of the Council of EU on the occasion of BioEconomy Utrecht 2016, the fourth BioEconomy stakeholders’ Conference.
The high – level meeting was hold under the auspices of the Dutch EU Presidency in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and aimed at detecting the needs of the European BioEconomy, so to find a common way to bring this concept forward. It was during these two days that important steps have been made towards the manifesto, meant to play a big role in the evolving of the new strategy for bioeconomy in Europe.
Around 300 representatives of governments, businesses, society and knowledge institutes from all over Europe have attended the conference that culminated in the launch of the “Manifesto for the Bioeconomy in Europe: A strategic agenda and a shared commitment to shape the bioeconomy through collaboration and dialogue.” It also called for better collaboration between DG Agri, research and innovation, and industry.
What is bioeconomy?
Bioeconomy consists mainly in those parts of the economy using renewable biological resources, namely biomass from land and sea (crops, forests, fish, animals and microorganisms, as well as biological residues and waste) to produce food, animal feed, materials, chemicals, fuels, and energy in a sustainable way.
According to the manifesto authors, biomass is both our past and our future because for centuries “we have used biomass in different ways and for different purposes: we eat it, build with it, burn it or wear it.” As for our future, “now it’s time to end the fossil fuel era,” they claim, “because it has caused major problems for the climate, the environment and for mankind as a whole.”
In the manifesto, stakeholders also stated the challenges, opportunities and necessary actions: “bioeconomy includes potentially unique features and advantages, like carbon neutrality, renewability, circularity and multi-functionality. A bioeconomy has a potentially strong socioeconomic impact, enabling jobs in rural areas and making industries more competitive.”
Bioeconomy development is closely related to the European discussions on circular economy, which was already analysed by the European Commission in its circular package. The link between the Circular Package and the bioeconomy will be on the agenda of the agricultural council on 15th May, while further steps will be taken in the environmental council.
For more information on this matter, read “The European Circular Economy.”
BioEconomy Utrecht 2016, the fourth BioEconomy Stakeholders’ Conference
Co-organised by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and by the European Commission, the conference is a part of the European Bioeconomy Strategy and Action Plan, and serves as an important input to the future orientation of the European Bioeconomy Strategy.
During the first day, relevant European speakers such and Dutch entrepreneurs have discussed the Bioeconomy challenges such as regulatory barriers, investment climate and boosting innovation.
Participants also visited Dutch examples of Bioeconomy, covering from fermentation of food residue of supermarkets and restaurants into electricity and heat, to processing wood into oil. The visits also included the reuse and upgrading of manure, new packaging and products out of renewable resources (bio plastic), production of new recourses with algae, as well as plant breeding.
On the second day, stakeholders from business, civil society and public authorities were invited to share their experiences and ideas on BioEconomy, contributing to the Manifesto itself.