Towards local circular bioeconomies: challenges and perspectives

33rd Breakfast at Sustainability's

16 September 2020, 09:30 - 12:00
- Online

With the EU Green Deal and the EU’s Bioeconomy Strategy setting sights on turning Europe’s economic model from linear to circular, it is on local and regional public authorities to facilitate the required social, behavioural and economic shifts locally.

With the coronavirus pandemic having put current models under significant stress, fostering the bioeconomy sector can provide an important opportunity for creating new business opportunities, jobs and growth within planetary boundaries, and in accordance with sensitive local ecosystems.

This mutual learning workshop will work with participants on strategising levers that can be used by regional and local authorities to promote and deploy sustainable and circular bio economies.

Focusing on a set of key core questions, this (online) event will explore common barriers – and work out possible solutions – for seizing this potential locally:

  • How can local and regional authorities take up these roles and become leaders in the local bioeconomy transition?
  • What role do local strategies play and how do these link to other development and sustainability agendas at local and regional levels?
  • What implementation support can be solicited and how can multi-level collaboration be fostered?

This online workshop, organised by ICLEI Europe and the BioVoices project, is to share working practices and to define multi-perspective answers to outlined questions with policy makers, businesses, academia and civil society.

The event follows the interactive concept of a "Mobilisation and Mutual Learning (MML) Workshop" within the frame of ICLEI’s well-established Breakfast at Sustainability’s series. For more information, the agenda and registration click here.



Despite its potential, the share of the bioeconomy in EU GDP is still low (34 percent, as per the European Commission, 2018) with most of this coming from low-tech bioeconomy sectors. The reasons for this are manifold, ranging from low acceptance of bio-based products among customers, to technical challenges with material property requirements, to labelling and standardisation, which lags behind the dynamic development in the bioeconomy in many European cities and regions (as shown also by the European Committee of the Regions’ New Circular Economy Action Plan (NCEAP) opinion to be adopted later this year).

Regional and local authorities may take on the role as enabler, promoter and/or facilitator of fostering local deployment of the bioeconomy. As enablers, authorities directly intervene through developing strategies and guidelines (e.g. public procurement) and through setting, where possible, regulations (e.g. restrictions or incentives). As promoters, authorities implement circular bio-based principles across all government functions (e.g. public procurement, land-use and public asset management etc.), promoting horizontal integration of the topic across departments, as well as advocacy for multi-level collaboration. As facilitators, authorities embark on a dialogue with other actors, taking on the role of a moderator who brings these actors together to boost the bioeconomy, thus providing a platform, building capacity and raising awareness.