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The demand for sustainable and circular alternatives to fossil raw materials offers opportunities for the European biobased industry. This also applies to Central and Eastern European countries, where the development of biobased activities has been lagging behind those in Western Europe. Recently updated country reports on the biobased industry in Romania and Poland underline the huge opportunities in these countries, where untapped potential is waiting to be explored and exploited.
Pierre Gielen

The Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) already took the initiative to produce country reports several years ago. They aim not only to provide an overview of the state of the country, but also of the potential for the biobased industry, including opportunities for investment and cooperation.

Innovation and economic growth

In Romania, a country with a rich agricultural sector and well-developed innovation centres, the BIC country report ‘Mapping Romania’s biobased potential‘, published last month, offers in-depth insight into the opportunities for biobased growth. By valorising co-products and waste in sectors such as agriculture and food processing, Romania can become a hub for biobased activities, where innovation and economic growth go hand in hand.

In Poland, a similar country report has led to renewed interest and cooperation within the biobased sector. By raising awareness about the potential of the biobased economy and bringing together stakeholders from different sectors, the report has helped set up new initiatives and clusters within the country.

Increasing participation

The role of organisations such as BIC and the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking (CBE JU) is crucial in promoting participation in biobased activities in Europe. Strategic initiatives such as the Country Reports and the Widening Strategy launched by CBE JU in 2023 contribute to this. Indeed, the countries and regions concerned are often very rich in biomass streams useful for industry, which are still barely exploited for this purpose. “The idea is not to drag raw materials into Western Europe,” says BIC’s Nelo Emerencia. “The added value must be created primarily locally, in the region.”

It requires cooperation between parties that does not come naturally. “I have personally been boosting biobased chemistry for the last five or six years, but in the 30 years before when I was working in the chemical industry, I never came in touch with a farmer or someone from forestry, the marine industry or waste management. These industry sectors do not know each other and therefore do not work together. This is slowing down growth. To really set up a biobased industry, we need to break through the barriers and include all of these sectors. That is what we as BIC are putting into practice with the country reports.”


When BIC started working on country reports in 2018, the eligible countries were almost all located in Central and Eastern Europe. They scored low on the European Commission’s annual innovation index, indicating an underdeveloped biobased industry. Portugal was the only Western European country that also scored low. Now that the first reports have been made of all these countries, the results are encouraging. Last year, BIC started a second round. The intention is to update the country reports every two or three years to track the development of the biobased industry. The focus has broadened, to include other countries identified in the Widening Strategy. This means that there will also be reports on the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Croatia. The resulting new cooperation encourages participation in CBE JU-funded projects. This approach is in line with the European Commission’s outreach to help countries commit to European networks and realise their own potential.

Emerencia: “These initiatives mark an important step towards a more sustainable and circular economy in Europe. By promoting cooperation and creating awareness about the potential of the biobased industry, we can stimulate innovation, create jobs and promote a more sustainable future. This way, the biobased economy in Europe can continue to grow and develop.”

This article was produced in cooperation with the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC).

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