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The main drivers for the transition towards a bioeconomy vary across EU regions, even within the same country, reveals a new report. Country and region-specific socio-economic and ecological settings, legal framework, and social demands, and a long history of using natural resources are reflected on the current development of bioeconomy sectors at regional level.

The latest Luke report Understanding the regional bioeconomy settings and competencies in 29 EU regions and 11 EU countries presents state-of-the-art information on existing regional bioeconomy strategies, regional bioeconomy monitoring activities, and bioeconomy industries and activities currently included at EU regional level. The report’s results show that all studied EU regions have formulated explicit bioeconomy or bioeconomy related strategies (e.g. Smart Specialisation Strategies, Climate Strategies or Regional Development Strategies).

It is for further discussion at different political levels if a bioeconomy related strategy for a specific region already fulfills the requirements of an explicit bioeconomy strategy. The report present also region-specific objectives (see Table 5) which could offer new perspectives in bioeconomy discussions at EU level e.g. in a possible EU bioeconomy strategy revision.

Results show diversity of bioeconomy industries and activities included at EU regional level

The Luke report presents an overview of which bioeconomy sectors are currently included at regionals level and thus shows the potential of manufacturers of bio-based end-products and the activities focused on bio-based services (see Table 7).

Understanding the ecological boundaries and sustainable use of bio-based raw materials from agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries, and raw materials from forestry are the base for a successful bioeconomy. A cross-sectoral cooperation at regional level between all bioeconomy related and focused sectors is crucial to avoid competition for primary biomass resources. In this light, it is evident that all bioeconomy industries and activities need to be innovative, productive and competitive whilst using fewer resources and reducing their environmental impact.

Monitoring the development of a bioeconomy

The importance of monitoring the progress of regional bioeconomy was seen by many of the responding regions. This was supported by the provided data and information for bioeconomy activites for employment, value-added and turnover. The different statistical sources and different reporting years however made a comparison between the different regions, even within the same country, difficult. It can be assumed that availability of data is also patchy in other EU regions that did not respond to the survey.

“A possible way to go forward could be cross-regional co-operation focused on developing regional statistical systems to provide bioeconomy data and information,” says Markus Lier, the project leader of the study.

Lier, M., Kärkkäinen, L., Korhonen, K.T., Packalen, T. (2019). Understanding the regional bioeconomy settings and competencies in 29 EU regions in 11 EU countries. Natural resources and bioeconomy studies 88/2019. 28 p. Natural Resources Institute Finland, Helsinki 2019.

Read the report