The European Commission has called for more funds and better regulation for sustainable job sectors, in adopting a new strategy for a sustainable European bio-economy on 13 February.
The bio-economy is defined by the Commission as “the sustainable production of renewable biological resources and their conversion and that of waste streams into food, feed, bio-based products”. It includes sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fishing, food and paper production and energy industries.
The goal of the Commission's new strategy is a lower-emission economy, created through three key points outlined in the plan: investment in research, market development and increased competition in bio-economy sectors and better policy co-ordination.
According to EU estimates, bio-economy sectors currently employ more than 22 million European citizens, 9% of all jobs in the EU, which represents more €2 trillion in annual economic turnover.
Through the three key aspects of the strategy, the Commission hopes to solve economic and ecological issues in the EU. The average European taxpayer pays between €55 and €90 to dispose of one tonne of food waste. By funding methods to turn this waste into bio-energy or other eco-friendly products, the Commission expects to create jobs and eliminate harm to the environment and cost to taxpayers.
While several EU member states already have bio-economy strategies in place, the Commission has called for a more cohesive and widespread policy. Their strategy calls for the creation of a Bio-economy Panel, observatory committee and stakeholder conferences to ensure this goal is met.
The Commission estimated that the plans for increased funding for research and better regulation laid out in the strategy would add 130,000 jobs and €45bn in the bio-economy by 2025.