Shaping Circular Rural Bioeconomies: Insights from Brilian Policy Bulletin

junio 6, 2024 admin Comments Off

The BRILIAN project, Cooperative and Sustainable Business Models for Bio-based Chains in Rural Areas, is at the forefront of fostering sustainable and cooperative business models within rural communities. By focusing on agricultural by-products valorization, BRILIAN aims to enhance rural development, biodiversity preservation, and climate neutrality. This comprehensive policy bulletin serves as a crucial resource for understanding the intricate and evolving policy landscape that influences the rural bioeconomy.

In recent years, European legislation has significantly impacted the development of bio-based value chains. Policies stemming from the European Green Deal, the Circular Economy initiative, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and climate goals are pivotal. The Green Deal, announced in 2019, sets the stage for making the EU’s economy sustainable by transforming climate and environmental challenges into opportunities. It aims for climate neutrality by 2050, decoupling economic growth from resource use, and promoting inclusivity and poverty reduction.

The CAP, in force from 2023 to 2027, supports farmers by ensuring stable food supply, safeguarding their income, and fostering rural economies. With approximately 10 million farms employing around 9 million people, the CAP is essential in supporting the agricultural sector, which represents about 4% of the EU workforce. However, recent farmer protests have highlighted challenges, indicating that despite significant financial support, perceived benefits are not fully reaching the farming community.

Climate goals set by the European Commission are ambitious, aiming for a 90% reduction in net emissions by 2040 compared to 1990 levels. Agriculture and land use are major contributors to this reduction, underlining the pressures on rural economies to adopt sustainable practices. Criticisms from NGOs suggest that reliance on carbon capture and removals may present both opportunities and challenges, with new income sources for farmers but also untested mechanisms to meet targets.

Biotechnologies and biomanufacturing are increasingly recognized for their potential to revolutionize sustainable agricultural practices. The European Commission’s roadmap, announced in March 2024, highlights the need for innovative biotechnologies to enhance the bioeconomy, especially in light of competitive pressures from the USA’s Inflation Reduction Act.

A significant development is the anticipated revised Bioeconomy Strategy in 2025, which will further promote the use of renewable biological resources. This strategy is expected to bolster the bioeconomy’s role in achieving climate and sustainability goals.

Specific legislative measures are also shaping the bioeconomy landscape. The Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) mandates the use of compostable materials for specific packaging applications and introduces new labelling requirements to reduce contamination and enhance recycling efforts. The Waste Framework Directive emphasizes the separate collection and treatment of organic waste, promoting compost production and reducing landfill use.

Ongoing consultations, such as the Nitrate Directive and the criteria for biodegradable polymers in EU fertilizing products, reflect the dynamic nature of policy-making. These consultations invite stakeholders to contribute to shaping regulations that directly impact the rural bioeconomy.

In conclusion, the European policy landscape is rapidly evolving, presenting both opportunities and challenges for the bioeconomy, especially in rural areas. The BRILIAN project is dedicated to providing the knowledge and experience necessary to shape effective and implementable policies that support sustainable rural bioeconomies. As these policies continue to develop, they hold the potential to transform rural areas, fostering resilience and sustainability for the future. By staying informed and engaged with these policy changes, stakeholders can play a vital role in driving the success of rural bioeconomies across Europe.

You can find the full report, written by David Newman and Roberto Ferrigno, from the European Bioeconomy Bureau, in the button below.