The European Commission has selected 6 "model demonstrator regions" in Europe to lead the way towards a sustainable chemical production in Europe. The selected regions are Andalusia (Spain), Groningen-Drenthe (The Netherlands), Kosice (Slovakia), Scotland (United Kingdom), South and Eastern Ireland, and Wallonia (Belgium).
The 6 regions have been selected from 28 applicants from EU regions, and will receive advisory support from the 'European Sustainable Chemicals Support Service' (ESCS), led by the European Commission and CIRCE (Center for Intelligent Research in Crystal Engineering). The aim is to encourage investments in sustainable chemicals production in Europe that will contribute to the development of the circular economy, for example by taking advantage of domestically available feedstock such as biomass, waste or CO2.
In a call for the expression of interest in September 2015, the Commission asked for applications from regional organisations interested in developing ambitious strategies to support sustainable chemicals in Europe. The final aim is to attract new investments in industrial projects in the chemicals sector, thereby also contributing to the industry policy objective of raising the GDP share of manufacturing in Europe. The call also intended to lead to further development of coherent policies, such as those related to circular and low carbon economy, industrial symbiosis as well as removing investment bottlenecks.
The applications submitted clearly show the commitment of many regions in Europe to move towards circular economy and low carbon economy, by using renewable resources also for chemicals production. Experiences from the initiative will be shared with other interested European regions, to boost cooperation between the chemicals sector and other sectors, like agriculture, forestry, energy intensive industries, waste management and recycling.