A sustainable forest-based circular bioeconomy needs long-term strategic regional action based on transnational cooperation around: Innovation, Institutions, Infrastructures and Investments.
Developing a sustainable and ambitious circular bioeconomy is a key element for sustainable development and the decarbonization of our economy. The transformation towards a circular bioeconomy requires an intelligent, efficient and sustainable use of biomass to produce biomaterials, products and services, that can replace high carbon and energy intense and non-renewable natural products like plastics, concrete or steel. Such transformation requires regional action due to the specificity of natural ecosystems, availability of forest and other bioresources as well as existing technological and socio-economic conditions. However, to succeed and scale up regional action should be based on International cooperation within a joint European vision. In this context, forests, being the most important biological infrastructure in Europe are called to play a key role in this transformation. Furthermore, forest resources, producing the most versatile natural material on earth: wood, emerge as a main source for renewable materials for sectors like construction, packaging or textiles.
Therefore, regions aiming at advancing a forest-based circular bioeconomy need to work together to unlock their regional potential on the forest circular bioeconomy. For this reason, EFI together with those regions willing to take the lead, is establishing a Bioregions Facility to support the development of the forest bioeconomy. This Bioregions Facility supports innovation, networking, and policy learning, and develops joint strategies and actions, capacity building plus partnering and exchanging experiences around: Innovation, Institutions, Infrastructures and Investments:
- Innovation, supporting bioeconomy innovation through specific programmes and events targeting start-ups;
- Institutions, exchanging experiences and discussing science-informed policies to support the creation of markets for biobased products (including public procurement policies, certification, regulations, etc).
- Infrastructures and regional business ecosystems, rising awareness of successful cases, connecting relevant actors and facilitating changes.
- Investments connecting regions to existing and new public-private partnerships and facilitating a dialogue between SMEs, Forest industry, investors, venture builders and policy makers. This includes a targeted European Bioeconomy Accellerator Programme.
The modus operandi is one of a Multi-Region Trust Fund based on voluntary contributions from participating regions to finance the activities of the Bioregions Facility. The Regions funding the Facility are members of a Steering Committee (SC) to provide strategic guidance and supervise the activities of the Bioregions facility. EFI, as the Bioregions Secretariate, coordinates the activities of the Bioregions Facility.
First regions of this facility are:
- Basque country, Spain
- North Karelia, Finland
- North Rhine Westphalia, Germany
Interested regions to join the Bioregions Facility are encouraged to apply for membership. Requirements for joining is status as a region in Europe with a mandate and strong committment to develop their regional circular bioeconomy.
Launch event, 9 March 2020 in Bilbao, Spain
Bioregions Facility launch: connecting knowledge for regional action (24.1.2020)