New lobby group demands EU support for bioeconomy
A new pan-European bioeconomy lobby group has been launched in Brussels, with a stated goal of helping the bloc become a 'leader in the bioeconomy'.
The nascent European Bioeconomy Alliance (EBA) called for bioeconomy development to be set as a priority in the European Commission's new €315bn investment plan as well as in national and regional measures, to help ensure Europe's sustainable economic recovery.
The bioeconomy refers to the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food, feed, bio-based products and bioenergy. Today, the European bioeconomy is already worth more than €2trn annually and employs over 22 million people, often in rural or coastal areas and in SMEs.
The EBA has initially called for four specific actions from the EU:
- Encourage member states to implement measures to i) increase agricultural and forestry productivity and soil fertility in a sustainable way and ii) facilitate mobilisation and access to renewable feedstock at competitive prices.
- Address barriers to investment in first commercial operations, such as biorefineries in Europe. The Public Private Partnership on Bio-based Industries is a first step in the right direction and should facilitate and catalyse other European and national and regional financing sources.
- Implement priority recommendations from the Lead Market Initiative on bio-based products. This will create new markets and jobs and also stimulate economic recovery
- Engage with civil society, together with farmers, forest owners and industry, to encourage the debate on shaping a more competitive, sustainable bioeconomy for Europe.
This week has been a contentious one for biofuels – a sector within the bioeconomy – thanks to mushrooming debate over the long-term sustainability of growing crops to be used as fuel instead of food.
The WRI started the discussion when it released a report stating that dedicating crops to bioenergy is 'too inefficient' to solve energy crises and makes it harder to sustainably feed the planet.
But the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) said the quoted figures represented 'false data', and that biofuels actually saved around 106m tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2014 while having a minimal impact on food production.
Members of the EBA
IC - Bio-based Industries Consortium
CEFS - European Association of Sugar Producers
CEPF - Confederation of European Forest Owners
CEPI - Confederation of European Paper Industries
COPA - COGECA - European Farmers and European agri-cooperatives
ePURE - European Renewable Ethanol Producers Association
EuropaBio - The European Association for Bioindustries
EUBP - European Bioplastics
FEDIOL - The EU Vegetable Oil & Proteinmeal Industry
FTP - Forest Technology Platform
PFP - Primary Food Processors
Starch Europe - European Starch Industry Association