On April 20, at CNR headquarters in Rome, the italian partners of the BIOWAYS project FVA New Media Research and UNIBO, participated to the launch of the Italian Bioeconomy Strategy.
The main authorities involved were the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Food and Forestry Policies, the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and The Conference of Regions. Representatives of the European Commission and the BBI JU public-private consortium also attended. The working group that has developed the Italian Strategy for Bioeconomics has been coordinated by Fabio Fava (Miur), Cinzia Tonci (Mise) and Paolo Bonaretti (Territorial Cohesion and South Italy development Agency)
Main take aways:
Bioeconomy in numbers
- The Bioeconomy tournover in Europe is 2.1 trillion turnover and 20 million employees
- Italy is the 3rd country in Europe, with a total turnover of 251 billion Euro in 2015, and around 1,7 million employees
- Increase production value by 20% and employment in the bio-economy by 15% by 2030.
Why bioeconomy is so important for Italy?
- Because it represents a unique opportunity to transform challenges such as the economic crisis, sustainability of environmental policies and the need to promote the circular economy, on occasions to enable Italy to play a leading role in promoting cultural development and change in Europe.
- Because, as Catia Bastioli, Managing Director of Novamont and President of Cluster Spring, says, “Bioeconomy stakes place at local level, and therefore the involvement of the local communities and regional authorities is crucial.” The strategy for Italian Bioeconomy takes into account the characteristics of the Italian territory and envisages the enhancement and reconversion of unique contexts such as coasts, forests and agricultural heritage, which can be valorized having a positive environmental, economical and societal impact.
- Promoting actions and investments at National and European level, creating opportunities for innovation and industrial growth.
- Developing experimental projects stemming form the territory.
- Involving in the process Institutions at Regional, National and European level.
- Strengthening Clusters and Industry-Institutional Partnerships.
- Co-creating (Industry, Policy, Research and Civil Society) to integrate in the process all the perspectives, constrains and development potential enabling an effective cultural change.
- Comunicate and disseminate, toward a cultural change
- Train and involve the citizens
- Promote value chains’ flexibility and interconnections
- Improve the legislation to both enable innovation and, in the same time, ensure to the citizen safeguards on the quality and origin of the products
In this context, the BIOWAYS, funded by the EC and the BBI JU aims at promoting public awareness on Bioeconomy. The current task of the project is running a consultation on public perception on Bio-based products. The questionnaire is available online in different languages. The italian version already collected 120 answers and the preliminary analysis have shown that Italian citizens have a fair understanding of the subject, a good propensity to use bio-based products (more than 70% prefer to purchase a bio-based product compared to a traditional one and 86 % has a positive perception of bio-based products), great sensitivity and attention to environmental challenges and sustainability and a strong desire to be more involved in information and, above all, decision-making processes. The cost is surely perceived as an obstacle, but above all the lack of information, labeling and regulations. Furthermore, the citizens are still unaware that some types of chemical product can be replaced with other bio-based products. This applies particularly to chemicals such as detergents, solvents, paints, lubricants, additives, surfactants, etc. Participants also underline the need for specific safeguards to ensure the origin and safety of products, improved access to information (eg. through labels), training activities (such as workshops, info days and events), portals and information sites on the different existing products and consumer incentives to decrease costs and push the buy of the bio based products.