Bioeconomy worth 2.4 trillion EUR to the European economy

As bio-based industries mark sizeable jump in turnover and bio-based share of chemicals reaches record high of 15 %.

The often-underrated bio-based industries continue their ascent marking a total contribution of 750 billion EUR to the European economy in 2017, a notable increase of 50 billion EUR (+>7 %) compared to 2016. The nova-Institute report commissioned by the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) also indicated that the bio-based industries employ 3.6 million people in the EU-28. Figures for the bio-based chemical industry (including plastics) alone reveal a turnover of EUR 60 billion and an increase of the bio-based share to 15 %, up from 7.5 % in 2008.

The analysis of the 2017 Eurostat data shows that the turnover of the total bioeconomy*, including food and beverages and the primary sectors of agriculture and forestry, results in just over 2.4 trillion EUR in the EU-28, meaning an increase by 25 % since 2008. Roughly half of the turnover is accounted for by the food and beverage sector, roughly 30 % is contributed by the bio-based industries, such as bio-based chemicals and plastics, pharmaceuticals, paper and paper products, forest-based industries, textiles, biofuels and bioenergy. The remaining 20 % is generated by the primary sectors – agriculture and forestry.

The 2017 data also reveal that the European bioeconomy employed 18.5 million people in total which shows a minor decrease from the 18.6 million people in 2016 – mainly through efficiency increases in production.

The primary biomass production, mainly agriculture plus the forestry and fishery sectors generate a lot of employment (55 %) but low turnover (20 %). Furthermore, the data shows great differences among EU Member States: e.g. some Central & Eastern European countries, e.g. Bulgaria, Poland and Romania are stronger in less value-adding sectors of the bio-based economy that generate a lot of employment instead. In contrast, Western and Northern European countries generate a much higher turnover compared to employment. The countries with the largest relative difference between turnover and employment in 2017 are France, Finland and Belgium, while Sweden, Italy and Germany also show a large surplus in turnover.

The nova-Institute’s market report is commissioned by the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) and was first published in 2016 demonstrating for the first time the macroeconomic effects generated by the bioeconomy, e.g. turnover and employment for the years 2008 and 2013. Since then the report has been updated on an annual basis. The latest version covers the whole period from 2008 to 2017.

The full report can be consulted here:

www.biconsortium.eu/bioeconomy-turnover-employment-2017

www.bio-based.eu/markets

*The primary sectors (agriculture, forestry, and fisheries) and the food, beverage, tobacco and paper and paper products can be considered fully bio-based and are thus fully accounted for in the bioeconomy. For other manufacturing sectors such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals and textiles, the bio-based shares were estimated and included in the report’s assessment.

The Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) is the private partner in the 3.7 EUR billion public-private partnership with the EU – the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU). Its membership includes 240+ industry members covering the whole value chain, from primary production to the market, across multiple and diverse sectors, such as agriculture & agri-food, aquaculture & marine, chemicals and materials, including bioplastics, forestry and pulp & paper, market sectors, technology providers and waste management & treatment. BIC’s membership also includes over 200 associate members such as research organisations, academia, trade associations, etc. To learn more about BIC, you can consult our brochure here.

nova-Institute is a private and independent research institute, founded in 1994; nova offers research and consultancy with a focus on the transition of the chemical and material industry to renewable carbon: How to substitute fossil carbon with biomass, direct CO2 utilisation and recycling. We offer our unique understanding to support the transition of your business into a climate neutral future. nova-Institute has 35 employees and an annual turnover of more than EUR 3 million.

www.nova-institute.eu