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Towards a method for the collection of statistical data on bio-based industries and bio-based products

Proposals shall develop and implement a method for the collection of data on bio-based products, taking into consideration the incorporation of the data in the European statistical infrastructure (Eurostat), building on and contributing to on-going activities on exemplary bio-based products (Bio-based Succinic Acid & 1,4-Butandiol, lubricants). The following aspects will represent the framework for developing the proposals: (1) links with current CEN standardisation work on bio-based products; (2) training support or technical inputs to official customs and competent laboratory staff in Member States and to relevant activities within the existing programmes such as Customs 2020 and European Union Customs Competency Framework (EU Customs CFW); (3) definition of the minimum bio-based carbon and/or bio-based content for some bio-based product groups (except bio-based lubricants); (4) data compatibility with European and international databases (e.g. FAOSTAT, PSD, etc.). Data generated should be fed into economic models, existing or newly developed, enabling the description of the development of the bioeconomy, its interaction with the rest of the economy, and its economic, environmental and social impact. Consortia should include a balanced combination of expertise on bio-based products, statistical reporting from Member States and modelling. Proposals should build upon the existing work of completed and on-going projects, including the current activities of the Bioeconomy Observatory, RRM-Group as well as the Commission study on Biomass Supply and Demand.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

As compared to bioeconomy sectors such as food-chain or bioenergy which keep hold of consolidated official statistics, there is a current lack of reliable and uniform ones on bio-based industries and bio-based products. In spite of progress made by the European Bioeconomy Observatory and other initiatives to gather data on the use of biomass for bio-based products, the following hurdles are still laying ahead to reach a widespread data availability: (i) There is lack of a comprehensive database with statistics for industrial uses of biomass from primary and secondary sources, (ii) The flow from raw materials to end products cannot be inferred from existing databases, (iii) There is insufficient comparability between different databases, (iv) Methodologies for data collection are not always transparent and existing data rely to a large extent on industry surveys and estimations of experts. This data gap hinders the development of economic models enabling the quantification of the bioeconomy and its economic, environmental and social effects. In turn, it has a negative effect on the ability of policy-makers to set the most appropriate policies to encourage investment in the bioeconomy in view of factors such as competition/synergies and possible trade-offs between various biomass uses.

As a step forward in setting the most appropriate policies to encourage investment in the bioeconomy and defining possible trade-offs between various biomass uses, proposals will have to achieve:

  • An implementation of an EU framework for the collection of data pertinent to bio-based products including disaggregated product-level statistics enabling the systematic monitoring of the evolution of bio-based product markets.
  • The development of statistics and modelling tools providing decision-makers with the capacity to monitor bioeconomy developments and formulate clear targets and consider future impacts of present-day decisions, in particular in relation to establishing an efficient strategy for biomass use in the EU. Contribution to interoperability activities (e.g. bioeconomy related models, database interface specifications).
  • Demonstrate direct benefits to the bio-based industries in the form of an enhanced capacity to provide evidence of these industries’ economic, environmental and social impact in quantitative terms.