Beginning Monday, 11 February 2019 12:30
End Monday, 11 February 2019 14:00
Location Boulevard Bischoffsheim 11, 1000, Brussels, Belgium
Event fees British Chamber members: €0.00 (incl. VAT)
Access Full and Patron members only

Report: The Sustainable and Circular Bioeconomy Strategy: What Does It Mean for Europe?

We were pleased to host Waldemar Kütt at this Energy, Transport & Chemicals Task Force briefing to speak about the new Bioeconomy Strategy of the European Commission. There was a good turnout as our members were eager to hear the ideas behind the strategy and the challenges it faces.

Important and detailed information about the strategy, what it aims to achieve and how it will achieve it, but also the challenges it faces and its impact on other EU policy priorities were discussed during the briefing. The term bioeconomy refers to the production of renewable biological resources (animals, plants, micro-organisms and derived biomass) and their conversion into food and bioenergy. We learned that the European Bioeconomy is sizable, both in economic and social terms, providing jobs for 18 million people for instance, in areas such as agriculture, forestry, or food, beverage and other agro-manufacturing. As it is facing an important transition, innovations and R&D will be needed in order to manage the change and to maximise the benefits.

The updated bioeconomy aims to achieve a long-term sustainability of the economy, balancing social, environmental and economic gains, interlinking the sustainable production of biomass for its different demands and uses with the protection and restoration of biodiversity, ecosystems and natural capital. The different approaches used to achieve the strategy’s goals were put forward during the briefing. While there is a consensus that investing in research and innovation is a necessary condition for a transition to a sustainable and circular bioeconomy, taking into account other factors such as regulatory changes or consumer behaviour is also important. Strengthening circularity and sustainability is another important aspect of the strategy, along with the need to make bioeconomy work in different local environments, adapted to local needs.

Furthermore, the bioeconomy strategy is strongly linked with and has a huge impact on other EU policy priorities. It has huge potential in job creation, climate mitigation and a carbon-neutral future and can be a catalyst of industrial renewal and greening of European industries. The three-tiered action plan proposed by the strategy was discussed thoroughly with our members, providing valuable information about its implementation and the challenges it faces.

Irina Michalowitz (AVISA Partners) shared her insight of the event with us: “This was an extremely insightful event at just the right time. Waldemar Kütt gave an extremely open and clear overview over the ideas behind the Bioeconomy Strategy, what is to be expected, and the difficulties in connecting different strands of policymaking. It will help BCCB members immensely to anticipate the future trends of legislative action in their areas of work.”




Speakers:

Head of Unit "Bioeconomy Strategy", Bioeconomy Directorate, DG Research and Innovation | European Commission

Dr. Waldemar Kütt is Head of Unit "Bioeconomy Strategy" in the Bioeconomy Directorate of DG Research and Innovation in the European Commission which coordinates bioeconomy research programmes and policy strategy. From 2012-2014 he was Head of Unit of "Biobased Products and Processing" in the same directorate. From May 2008 to November 2014 he held various positions as senior expert, Deputy and Head of Cabinet in the Cabinet of Research Commissioners Potočnik and Geoghegan-Quinn. His main responsibilities included the €80billion new Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020. He joined the Research Directorate General of the European Commission in 1997 and has since coordinated activities and polices related to innovation, SME, IPR, finance, technology transfer and bioregions. He holds a doctor's degree in physics from the Technical University Aachen, Germany.

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