On 13 February 2012, the European Commission adopted a strategy for “Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe [42 KB] ”.
This strategy proposes a comprehensive approach to address the ecological, environmental, energy, food supply and natural resource challenges that Europe and indeed the world are facing already today.
Under the lead of Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Máire Geoghegan Quinn, the strategy was co-signed by the Commissioners Dacian Cioloȿ (Agriculture and Rural Development), Janez Potočnik (Environment) Maria Damanaki (Maritime Affairs), and vice-President Antonio Tajani (Industry and Entrepreneurship).
The strategy is not a new piece of legislation. Rather it aims to focus Europe's common efforts in the right direction in this diverse and fast-changing part of the economy.
A strong Bioeconomy will help Europe to live within its limits. The sustainable production and exploitation of biological resources will allow the production of more from less, including from waste. The Bioeconomy will also contribute to limiting the negative impacts on the environment, reduce the heavy dependency on fossil resources, mitigate climate change and move Europe towards a post-petroleum society.
The importance of the Bioeconomy in Europe cannot be underestimated. With an annual turnover of around two trillion euros and employing around 22 million people, it is already one of the biggest and most important components of the EU economy, encompassing agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food and chemicals.
The Bioeconomy is therefore not a niche area – it is about growth and jobs. Estimates show that just in terms of the EU's investment in Bioeconomy research and innovation, each euro to be invested under the proposed Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation could generate ten euros of added value in the different Bioeconomy sectors by 2025.