Europe’s bio-economy is worth €2.2 trillion and employs 18.6 million people across the bloc, but a third of citizens are unaware it exists.
“People are completely unaware that the EU is number one in the world [for bio-based products] and they don’t know it is investing [in the bio-economy],” said Susanna Albertini, managing director of FVA, the Italian partner of the Bioways project, at the first stakeholder forum for the bio-based industries (BBI), which took place in Brussels on 7 December.
The BBI joint undertaking (BBIJU), running from 2014-2020, is a €3.7 billion public-private partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium. EU funding through Horizon 2020 has committed €975 million, with the rest coming from private investment.
So far, for every €1 put in by the EU, €2.59 has been invested by the private sector. Companies outside the EU are “getting interested” in what is going on here, said Philippe Mengel, executive director of the BBIJU. “The EU is back on the map as a place to invest in bio-based industry.”