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Innovative Bio-based Products: Investment, Environmental Impacts and Future Perspectives

Innovative Bio-based Products: Investment, Environmental Impacts and Future Perspectives

6 June 2018
Key insights on the bioeconomy industry: environmental impacts, investment potential and innovative bio-based products

With €2 trillion in annual turnover, the EU's bioeconomy sector is at the core of the Union's strategic activities.

Innovative bio-based products represent a key part of the whole bioeconomy, as they can:

  • replace existing products and upgrade product functionalities;
  • boost the economy and create new market segments;
  • foster environmental sustainability.

The "Innovative bio-based products: Investment, Environmental Impacts and Future Perspectives" conference presented key insights on the environmental impacts, investment potential and innovative aspects of selected bio-based products, as well as considerations on:

  • Full Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of case studies comparing bio-based with fossil-based products.
  • EU  success stories, with insights on the bio-based sector and the investment potential it offers.
  • Top emerging bio-based products, their properties and industrial applications.

Three parallel interactive sessions looked into these specific topics, fostering the exchange of views and experiences and highlighting further visions on this emerging market.

The insights presented during the event were the result of a study conducted by a Consortium including COWI, Utrecht University, the University of Bologna, Fraunhofer ISI, Bio-Based World News, and Ecologic Institute on behalf of and financed by the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission.

The conference welcomed 150 participants among policymakers, investors, industry and SMEs, researchers and academia, NGOs and civil society.

The following key messages emerged from the discussions in the parallel sessions:

Environmental impact of innovative bio-based products

  1. A very complex topic and we are at the beginning of finding the right approach and metrics.
  2. We need a clear, simple and transparent way of evaluating land use.
  3. Comparing bio-based vs. fossil-based is like comparing apples with oranges.
  4. Early positives are the potential of plastics from urban waste and recycling as a viable end of life solution.

Successes in mobilising finance for the development and commercialisation of  bio-based products

  1. Demand = Price x Performance x Sustainability.
  2. Know where to focus your product, expertise and energy.
  3. Financing is a patchwork quilt.

Prospecting the Bioeconomy: What products are most promising?

  1. Bio-based is no more enough to be successfull: look for high performance and additional functionality.
  2. Relevant feedstock-related issues strongly impact on the development of new bio-based products: availability, consistency, quality, etc.
  3. Regulatory support is needed, also for getting diffuse and correct information on bio-based products.

More information on the conference is available on the Bioeconomy Policy website of DG Research and Innovation.

The conference programme, a booklet presenting 15 success stories in the European Union and a booklet on the top 20 emerging bio-based products can be found below for download.

For any assistance, please contact us at: bio-based-communications@ecologic.eu.

European Commission, Directorate-General Research & Innovation (DG Research & Innovation)
COWI, Denmark
University of Bologna (UNIBO), Italy
Utrecht University (UU), Netherlands
Bio-Based World News, United Kingdom
6 June 2018
Brussels, Belgium
Number of Participants
Project ID
Bioeconomy, bio-based products and processes, presentations, panel discussions, parallel sessions, Europe