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Revitalisation of European local communities with innovative bio-based business models and social innovation

The action advances the role and impact of bio-based innovation to accelerate the transition from a linear fossil-based economy, which leads to overuse and depletion of natural resources, into a resource-efficient and circular bio-based systems operating safely within planetary boundaries. Improved and informed governance and especially social innovation contributes to reducing resource consumption and results in an increased innovation capacity of all actors, while reducing the risk of leaving anyone behind, particularly in the areas and communities in need of revitalisation. This also helps to advance innovation at local scale and engage all actors (especially the ‘social enterprise’ model relevant for vulnerable populations).

Proposals should benefit from social creativity and opportunities at regional scale unleashed for bio-based systems, ensuring their low environmental footprint, in terms of feedstock, resources, processes, materials and products. Impacts and trade-offs, such as the carbon footprint and environmental footprint of the whole value chains should be part of the assessment of the bio-based systems. The proposals should seek complementarities with related actions[[such as the topic “HORIZON-CL6-2021-COMMUNITIES-01-02: Expertise and training centre on rural innovation”]], under rural development programs on the governance of bio-based innovation and ensure inclusiveness and engagement of all actors.

Social innovation is recommended when the solution is at the socio-technical interface and requires social change, new social practices, social ownership or market uptake. Proposal could explore intersectionality approaches and consider aspects like gender, ethnicity, migrant or refugee status, social class, sexual orientation and disability to ensure inclusion of marginalised groups in citizen engagement and the development of tools and guidelines.

Proposals should:

  1. select a range of bio-based systems where value chains can be tailored to specific needs in respect to the revitalisation of local communities (understood both in territorial and social sense), to their environmental and social impacts (benefits and trade-offs) from trade in the primary materials to the final products;
  2. focus on relevant new or updated business models and local capacities (feedstocks, infrastructure, human skills, etc), and innovation actors (including community knowledge and marginalised groups), to enable sufficient impacts/benefits/positive trade-offs and performances of the specific value chains;
  3. assess existing/develop new monitoring system and indicators of the effectiveness and robustness of existing governance schemes, to allow replication across Europe (e.g. income generation for all stakeholders, labour conditions, environmental indicators, social engagement, innovation parameters etc);
  4. ensure efficient engagement of all actors (public authorities, SMEs, NGOs, knowledge providers) via robust and transparent communication and awareness-rising campaigns;
  5. analyse social and economic barriers and potentialities to enable the transition towards socially and environmentally responsible behaviour within all ranges (e.g. regulatory measures, corporate responsibility initiatives, education), ensuring inclusiveness of all actors (NGOs, civil society etc).