The European commission is investing €100 million (£88 million) into scaling up bio-based sectors and improving innovation as part of a strategy to improve Europe’s sustainability and enhance its bioeconomy.
The action plan is necessary, the commission says, to provide Europe with food, clean water and energy without damaging the environment and climate or using up finite biological resources. It believes that driving forward the bioeconomy – which includes sectors such as food, agriculture and forestry – will also boost growth and investment, with the potential to provide 1 million more green jobs in just over 20 years. However, it acknowledges that this will require industry and public authorities to make a concerted effort.
Based on three key objectives, the commission aims to modernise Europe’s economy and industry for long-term sustainability, develop the bioeconomy agendas of EU countries and protect ecosystems against threats such as climate change. Initiatives include new biorefineries to make best use of biomass that is currently wasted, developing an EU-wide monitoring scheme to track progress on creating a circular bioeconomy and improving knowledge sharing. These measures will start getting off the ground next year.
The strategy is an update of the commission’s 2012 bioeconomy strategy and will be discussed with stakeholders in a conference in Brussels on 22 October. The commission has proposed to allocate a further €10 billion to the strategy under the Horizon Europe programme.