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The bioeconomy refers to the use of renewable biological resources for the pursuit of economic and ecological objectives. However, the transformation towards a bio-based economy brings with it controversy and conflicting goals, prompting questions regarding the ethical foundations as well as political and institutional framework conditions.

Ecologic Institute aims to foster the discourse on the opportunities and risks of the European bio-economy and to support the participatory development of national and regional bio-economy strategies. Civil society actors and the general public are integrated in a credible and transparent manner.

Building on the principles of action research, Ecologic Institute investigates how a sustainable bio-economy can be developed while balancing economic, environmental and social goals. In addition, the team investigates the potentials of rural development while ensuring the sustainable use of agricultural, forestry and marine ecosystems.


Related Topics



International Development

Nature-based Solutions and Green Infrastructure

Resource Conservation + Circular Economy



Gerardo Anzaldúa
Senior Fellow



Land Use



Holger Gerdes
Coordinator Bioeconomy
Senior Fellow









Jenny Tröltzsch
Coordinator Adaptation
Senior Fellow
Selected Projects for Bioeconomy
project logo green label with two leaves as wings

© 3-C

The EU Bioeconomy Strategy accelerates the deployment of a sustainable European bioeconomy by managing natural resources sustainably, reducing dependence on fossil resources, ensuring food security, mitigation and adapting to climate change, and creating jobs and... Read more

Concise Consumer Communication through Robust Labels for Bio-based Systems (3-CO)


© Ecologic Institute

The overall goal of SCALE-UP is to support regional multi-actor partnerships, consisting of private businesses, governments and policymakers, civil society organisations, and researchers in identifying and scaling-up innovative and sustainable bio-based value chains... Read more

Concepts, Tools and Applications for Community-driven Bioeconomy Development in European Rural Areas (SCALE-UP)


© Zoritza Kiresiewa

What characterizes a monitoring system that effectively considers aspects of precautionary environmental protection? The aim of this project is to answer this question with regard to the new German bioeconomy strategy. The German government aims at a transformation... Read more

Musselfarming in Italy


Image by Jacek Kijewski from Pixabay

Unsustainable use of the oceans and their resources leads to severe problems, like depletion of fish stocks, biodiversity loss, habitat degradation and increased pollution, among other negative impacts. With a scoping study, awarded by the European Environment Agency ... Read more
The bioeconomy carries the promise to offer important opportunities for rural employment and regional added value. The transition towards a more sustainable, bio-based regional economy and society requires the active involvement of a broad spectrum of stakeholders and... Read more

Bio-based Strategies and Roadmaps for Enhanced Rural and Regional Development in the EU (BE-Rural)

The bioeconomy holds potential solutions to important challenges of the future. The social, economic and environmental impacts associated with its products and processes, however, will require extensive dialogue processes on the future development of the bioeconomy.... Read more
BIOBRIDGES's overall aim is to ensure the marketability of sustainable bio-based products by establishing primary partnerships between bio-based industries, brand owners and consumer representatives in cooperation with other stakeholders like local communities, local... Read more

Improving the Market Access of Sustainable Bio-based Products (BIOBRIDGES)

| Fotolia © DeshaCAM
A sustainable bioeconomy could contribute to replacing fossil-based resources and feeding a growing world population. Inherent to a transformation towards such an economy are economic, ecological and social opportunities as well as risks. This project for the German... Read more
| © Laura Griestop
Focus on: Environmental Impact (LCA), EU Commercial and Financial Success Stories and Top 20 Novel Products in Development The overall objective of this project is to provide a range of new information and analyses that will enable policy-makers, the scientific... Read more

Support to Research and Innovation Policy for Bio-based Products (BIO-SPRI)

© Universität Bonn
Fertile soils are an indispensable resource for agriculture and the Bioeconomy as a whole. Subsoils contain a major part of the nutrients essential for plants, a resource potential that has thus far not yet been fully understood nor used. In order to harness this... Read more
| ©Leonid Ikan|
Ecologic Institute contributes to the project "Provision of Technical Support Related to Target 2 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 – Maintaining and Restoring Ecosystems and their Services" for DG Environment. The concerned task focuses on better understanding... Read more

Provision of Technical Support Related to Target 2 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020

Teilnehmer beim Lisbon Workshop on Blue Natural Capital (BNC) © Oceano Azul Foundation
The Lisbon Workshop on Blue Natural Capital (BNC) took place on 3 and 4 October 2018 at the Lisbon Ocean Aquarium (Oceanário de Lisboa) in Portugal. It was hosted by the Oceano Azul Foundation (Fundação Oceano Azul) and prepared and chaired by R. Andreas Kraemer,... Read more

Lisbon Workshop on Blue Natural Capital (BNC)

Across the globe, nearly 30% of food is wasted throughout the agrifood supply chain. REFRESH ("Resource Efficient Food and dRink for the Entire Supply cHain") was an EU Horizon 2020 funded project taking action against food waste. Twenty-six partners from 12... Read more

Resource Efficient Food and dRink for the Entire Supply cHain (REFRESH)

The pressure on land and natural resources is increasing worldwide. While there are many sectoral policies tackling different environmental problems, land use is not regulated in an integrated and overarching way. The discussion on sustainable biofuels and biomass... Read more
All projects on Bioeconomy
Selected Publications for Bioeconomy
This report outlines the conceptual framework of BE-Rural and provides practical guidance to the design and implementation of the five regional Open Innovation Platforms (OIPs) within BE-Rural. This conceptual framework aims to provide guidance regarding the overall... Read more

Abhold, K., Gerdes, H., Kiresiewa, Z., Davies, S. (2019). D1.1 Sustainability and Participation in the Bioeconomy: A Conceptual Framework for BE-Rural. Deliverable of the H2020 BE-Rural project.

UBA TEXTE 78|2019
The bioeconomy has gained high political importance as a way to overcome economic, ecological and social challenges: by 2019, more than 50 dedicated and bioeconomy-supporting policy strategies had been published worldwide. At the same time, the concept of the bioeconomy... Read more

Kiresiewa, Zoritza et. al. 2019: Bioökonomiekonzepte und Diskursanalyse. Teilbericht (AP1) des Projekts "Nachhaltige Ressourcennutzung – Anforderungen an eine nachhaltige Bioökonomie aus der Agenda 2030/SDG-Umsetzung". Umweltbundesamt: Dessau-Roßlau.

This BioSTEP document builds on the previous Deliverable 2.1 which collected information about the impacts of bioeconomy-related products in a database. Rather than attempting to exhaustively list the whole plethora of products and processes in the bioeconomy, the... Read more

Hasenheit, Marius; Holger Gerdes; Zoritza Kiresiewa et. al. 2016: Summary Report on the Social, Economic and Environmental Impacts of the Bioeconomy. Promoting stakeholder engagement and public awareness for a participative governance of the European bioeconomy. Berlin.

Building on the idea that an open and informed dialogue on complex topics such as the bioeconomy and engaging with variety of stakeholders and the general public may bring the concept of the bioeconomy closer to the society, the BioSTEP project experimented with... Read more

Gerdes, Holger; Zoritza Kiresiewa, Volkert Beekman, et. al. 2018: Engaging stakeholders and citizens in the bioeconomy: Lessons learned from BioSTEP and recommendations for future research.

Stakeholder and public engagement are key elements of EU policy development, as well as of responsible research and  innovation. Over a period of three years, BioSTEP has designed and implemented a wide range of citizen and stakeholder engagement activities... Read more

BioSTEP consortium (2018): BioSTEP Research Recommendations - Engaging Stakeholders and Citizens in the Bioeconomy.

After two years of research and stakeholder consultation, the BioSTEP consortium, led by Ecologic Institute, finalized the BioSTEP policy paper. This paper concludes five recommendations, aiming to support the revision of the European Bioeconomy Strategy. These... Read more

BioSTEP consortium (2017): Creating Networks for the Transition to a Bio-based and Circular Economy. BioSTEP Policy Paper.

Hidden beneath the humus-rich topsoil, the subsoil usually receives little attention in agricultural practice. Yet, plants cover between 10 and 80% of their nutrient and water needs from subsoils. Measures to improve the subsoil could help in bridging droughts and... Read more

Frelih-Larsen, A.; Hinzmann, M.; Ittner, S. (2018). The 'Invisible' Subsoil: An Exploratory View of Societal Acceptance of Subsoil Management in Germany. Sustainability 2018, 10, 3006.

Green growth means fostering economic growth and development while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services upon which our well-being relies. Green growth brings about multiple social and economic benefits. Together with... Read more

Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety (2018): Innovation, Renovation, Transformation - Good practice examples of projects promoting green growth across Central, Eastern and Southern Europe.

All publications on Bioeconomy
Selected Events for Bioeconomy
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... Read more
Over a period of three years the BioSTEP project developed participation tools to involve the public in the development of the European bioeconomy. Different types of participation were sought. During the final conference on 22 February 2018 in Brussels, the... Read more

Conference:Effective Stakeholder and Public Engagement in the Bioeconomy – BioSTEP Conference

Brussels, Belgium
|© Henning Sittel
On 17 June 2019, the NaWiKo workshop "Sustainable management in companies based on the example of bioplastics" took place at the facilities of Bio-Molkerei Söbbeke GmbH, a sustainable creamery, in Gronau near Münster. The aim of the workshop was for company... Read more
On the 13 May 2019, Ecologic Institute organised the workshop "Beyond sectors – chances and challenges of multi-stakeholder collaboration in the bioeconomy" in the context of the 8th International Bioeconomy Conference in Halle (Saale). The aim of the... Read more
All events on Bioeconomy
Selected Presentations for Bioeconomy
© Jordana Meilleur |
On 7 November 2018, federal ministers Elisabeth Köstinger, Norbert Hofer and Heinz Faßmann kicked-off the process for the development of a national bioeconomy strategy in Austria. In this context, a conference entitled "Bioeconomy: Sustainable and Circular"... Read more

Panel discussion:Bioeconomy: Sustainable and Circular

Vienna, Austria
All presentations on Bioeconomy