On the occasion of ‘BioEconomyUtrecht2016’, the fourth Bioeconomy Stakeholders’ Conference, the European Bioeconomy Alliance (EUBA) calls on the EU to lead a worldwide transition towards a renewable, low-carbon economy. Europe has all of the means necessary to become a global leader in the bioeconomy, if its potential is realised and embraced by European policy makers.
The bioeconomy encompasses the sustainable production of renewable resources and their conversion into food, feed, fibres, materials, chemicals and bioenergy through efficient, innovative technologies. It is already worth €2 trillion annually and employs 22 million Europeans, but holds the potential to significantly further boost competitiveness and long-term economic growth. At a time when the pressure is on to deliver on post-Paris climate commitments, the bioeconomy offers a viable solution to today’s fossil carbon equivalents and has the potential to save up to 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 per year.
In advance of today’s conference, EUBA members, together with other stakeholders in the growing bio-based community have produced a set of recommendations on how Europe can promote bio-based products in public procurement. The report, which will be launched today in Utrecht, outlines what needs to be done at EU, regional and national level to create dynamic new markets for home-grown, EU-sourced bio-based products.
Speaking on behalf of the EUBA, Pekka Pesonen, Secretary General of Copa and Cogeca commented: ‘We are at a pivotal moment in the development of the European bioeconomy. The EU’s strategy is currently being reviewed and we find that we have both great achievements to celebrate as well as some much needed new measures to put in place. Financial tools are needed to boost innovation and investment in existing and new bio-based value chains. In addition, boosting public procurement of bio-based products is one example of how Europe can develop renewable product markets and accelerate the move towards a circular bioeconomy.’
Also speaking on behalf of the Alliance, Jamie Fortescue, Managing Director of Starch Europe, a member of the Primary Food Processors added: ‘Europe has, in abundance, the renewable resources, industrial base and know-how to lead its own bioeconomy revolution. What we now need, to attract more contributors and investment, is open and inclusive discussion underpinned by unwavering, cross-sectoral, political commitment. We want to look back at Utrecht in five years’ time and marvel at what has been achieved in the interim.’
EUBA member EuropaBio’s Industrial Biotech Council Chair, Stephan Tanda, concluded: ‘With the steadfast support and leadership of the European Institutions, the Member States and their regions, huge progress has been made over the past five years with many national authorities setting out their own tailor-made roadmaps towards vibrant and regenerative home-grown bioeconomies. In addition, thanks to the development and launch of the EU’s first ever Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking for €3.7 billion, ground-breaking cross-sectoral innovation has been given a new lease of life. As a result, we will see new partnerships forming across borders and disciplines in the development of smarter, more sustainable products and processes. The potential is there to be harnessed and, with the right support, Europe will lead the way in the development of a world leading bioeconomy.’
Note to the Editor
BioEconomyUtrecht2016 is taking place 12-13 April in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and is hosted by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the European Commission, under the auspices of the Dutch EU Presidency. The aim of the conference is to explore how Europe can enhance its bioeconomy and input into the review of the European Bioeconomy Strategy that will take place in 2016.
Commission Expert Group for Bio-based Products, Working Group Public Procurement of Bio-based Products, Recommendations 2016:
Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A bioeconomy for Europe: http://ec.europa.eu/research/bioeconomy/pdf/bioeconomycommunicationstrategy_b5_brochure_web.pdf
A number of the sectors which are fundamental to the implementation of the EU Bioeconomy strategy, represented by the European Bioeconomy Alliance (EUBA), are identified as being subject to the risk of carbon leakage under the Commission’s proposal for the ETS post 2020. These are: starch, oilseeds and protein meals, pulp and paper and sugar. The EUBA supports this approach because there is indeed a real risk that these sectors may relocate their operations outside the EU in the absence of a global level playing field on energy cost.
However the EUBA is also aware of the so-called tiered approach towards carbon leakage put forward by the French and British governments. Under this proposed approach some of the sectors being exposed to carbon leakage would receive more compensation than others. In practise this would mean that fossil-based industries, who are intrinsically most carbon-intensive, would receive 100% free allocation, to the detriment of the sectors which are contributing to the bioeconomy and thus reducing the EU’s fossil fuel dependence (who would receive from 0% to a maximum of 80% free allocation). This would create a competition distortion, undermining efforts to develop renewable bio-based materials to replace fossil fuel based ones.
The objective of the EU Emission Trading System is to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The objective of the European Commission’s bioeconomy strategy, endorsed by both the Council of the EU and the European Parliament, is that fossil fuels should be replaced with “sustainable renewable alternatives as part of the shift to a post-petroleum society”. The objectives are and must remain complementary and consistent.
According to OECD, “the full climate change mitigation potential of biotechnology processes and bio-based products ranges from between 1 billion and 2.5 billion tons CO2 equivalent per year by 20301”.
Both the EU ETS and the EU bioeconomy strategy are fundamental to the European Union's policy to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions cost effectively. The EUBA therefore congratulates the European Commission for being consistent and strongly warns against any attempts by Member State governments to undermine that consistency.
The Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union organised a field trip for Industry and Environment Council working group members to illustrate the Circular Economy, one of the Presidency’s top priorities. The Presidency chose the state-of the-art paper mill in Roermond, The Netherlands. The mill is operated by Smurfit Kappa and its raw material is 100% paper for recycling, making it the perfect example of circularity. The visit was co-organised with the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) and the Royal Dutch papermaking association VNP.
“We are very happy to be given the opportunity to demonstrate that paper is at the heart of the Circular Economy”, said CEPI Acting Director General Jori Ringman. “The paper industry champions many aspects of circularity from reusing water to industrial symbiosis, from including the whole value chain in advancing circularity to working towards clean and safe cycles. Whilst the recycling starts already at homes and offices and is a chain of many important actors, it is vital that EU legislation acknowledges the final recycling where the material is physically transformed to start a new cycle; this is what the participants saw today in practice”, he added.
Europe is a world champion when it comes to paper recycling, achieving a 72% recycling rate in 2014.
The Roermond mill is a great example of Circular Economy. It processes 600 000 tonnes or one million bales of waste paper into new paper rolls every year, which is more than 25% of the annual collected amount of paper for recycling. “The companies in our sector produce products in a very high tech and sustainable way, products that play a very important role in everyday life. The participants of the field trip could closely experience that in Roermond,” said Gerrit Jan Koopman, Director of Royal VNP.
For more information, please contact:
Jori Ringman, CEPI Acting Director General at firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile: +32 478 25 50 70
Rutger van Dijk, VNP Communication and PR at email@example.com, mobile +31 6 45 79 02 60
Note to the Editor
CEPI aisbl - The Confederation of European Paper Industries
The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) is a Brussels-based non-profit organisation regrouping the European pulp and paper industry and championing industry’s achievements and the benefits of its products. Through its 18 member countries (17 European Union members plus Norway) CEPI represents some 505 pulp, paper and board producing companies across Europe, ranging from small and medium sized companies to multi-nationals, and 920 paper mills. Together they represent 23% of world production. For further information see http://www.cepi.org/
Royal VNP – Koninklijke Vereniging van Nederlandse Papier- en Kartonfabrieken
The Dutch paper and board association represents the interests of the Dutch paper and board industry with an active lobbying focused on solutions, on current policies, legislation and sustainability. They provide services to their members and initiate policy-supporting studies. In this way they help to connect the companies’ needs and developments in society (customers, employees, government, NGOs and society in general). For further information see www.vnp.nl.
The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) has concluded the 17th edition of European Paper Week 2015. Its great success is reflected in a record number of attendees: More than 400 industry representatives gathered in Brussels for three intensive days and have left full of inspiring ideas, new contacts and good memories.
The industry declared the start of The Age of Fibre, and launched a brand new publication containing the most innovative products of the pulp and paper industry. This new publication is the third in the sequence of initiatives that started with the 2050 Roadmap in 2011, followed by the Two Team Project in 2013. All products featured in the new publication were shipped to Brussels for an exhibition that ran throughout the event.
Engaging with European policy makers, the industry stressed European competitiveness. Gary McGann, CEPI Chairman, said “Europe needs a real improvement of competitiveness, not competitiveness which is delivered by potentially temporary currency weakness. We again ask for a completion of the internal market, competitive energy prices, a more flexible and mobile employment environment and a reduction in the extent and cost of governance across Europe. This means greater efficiency in policy making, speedy decision making and clearer accountability to ensure a progressive Europe and a progressive industry”.
Never before did European Paper Week bring together such a large number of prominent speakers. With Industry 4.0 being the overriding theme of the event, the keynote speaker was renowned economist Jeremy Rifkin, author of 20 books about the impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, the workforce, society, and the environment. In an energetic dialogue with Commissioner Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, he presented his theory of the Zero Marginal Cost Society via a live video link from the United States.
Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society, Gunther Oettinger, gave the Commission‟s view on Industry 4.0 and the future of industry in Europe, while Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, joined the dinner and congratulated outgoing Chairman Gary McGann. From 2016 onwards Peter Oswald, CEO of Mondi Europe & International, will be the new CEPI Chairman.
European Paper Week also celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Forest-based Sector Technology Platform. European Commissioner Carlos Moedas, responsible for Research, Science and Innovation, congratulated the platform for its achievements.
European Paper Week 2015 covered a wide range of topics, from hot EU policies such as the Circular Economy and Emissions Trading System, to market developments (in collaboration with RISI), the future of speciality papers and the US paper industry campaign, How Life Unfolds.
The industry launched its preliminary statistics for 2015, showing that the transformation of industry continues, while volumes and turnover stay relatively stable.
Photos and presentations from the event will soon be available at www.cepi.org/epw.
If you have any questions, please contact Annie Xystouris at firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: +32(0)486 24 36 42.
For supporting information, download our press pack.
European Paper Week, CEPI's annual event, was very successful and marked a record number of attendance. More than 400 industry representatives gathered in Brussels for three intensive days and left full of inspiring ideas, new contacts and good memories.
Never before did European Paper Week bring together such a large number of prominent speakers. With Industry 4.0 being the overriding theme of the event, the keynote speaker was renowned economist Jeremy Rifkin, author of 20 books about the impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, the workforce, society, and the environment. In an energetic dialogue with Commissioner Vice-President Maroš Sefcovic, he presented his theory of the Zero Marginal Cost Society via a live video link from the United States. You can listen to Mr. Rifkin's speech here and Mr. Sefcovic's here.
Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society, Günther Oettinger, gave the Commission’s view on Industry 4.0 and the future of industry in Europe, while Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, joined the dinner and congratulated outgoing Chairman Gary McGann.
European Paper Week also celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Forest-based Sector Technology Platform. European Commissioner Carlos Moedas, responsible for Research, Science and Innovation, congratulated the Platform for its achievements.
You can view all presentations, photos and other materials published during EPW at: http://www.cepi.org/EPW/2015