“Bio-based industries (chemicals and plastics, pharmaceuticals, paper and paper products, forest-based industries, textile sector, biofuels and bioenergy) show 600 billion EUR turnover and 3.2 million employees. The Bio-based industry is already an important part of the European economy and a pivotal element in the transition towards a sustainable, circular economy in Europe with renewable raw materials as key enablers. Europe should continue on this path and create stable policies to further accelerate the European Bioeconomy," says Marcel Wubbolts, Chair of the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC).
The total employment in the European Bioeconomy is 18.3 million employees with primary biomass production (agriculture, forestry & fishery) as the biggest contributor (58%). The analysis shows different situations among Member States. Eastern European Poland, Romania and Bulgaria are strong in primary production and their commodities’ sectors have a high employment/turnover ratio. Western and Northern European countries generate a much higher turnover compared, hence have lower employment/turnover ratios. Frontrunners for Bioeconomy are Germany, Italy and France which share the highest turnover and employment in the EU-28.
The BIC annual survey from early 2015 indicate that BIC members currently invest more than 2.1 billion EUR in bio-based industries, mainly demonstration projects or new flagships. Most of the short-term investments will take place in the lignocellulosic and forestry based value chains. "The commitment of the industry is there, and the new BBI public-private partnership certainly shows its first impact. Now politics has to follow and enable a swift transition from fossil to bio-based resources," comments Dirk Carrez, Executive Director of BIC.
European Bioeconomy in Figures report, March 2016: