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Bridging Consumers, Brands and Bio Based Industry to improve the market of sustainable bio-based products

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BIOBRIDGES (Bridging Consumers, Brands and Bio Based Industry to improve the market of sustainable bio-based products)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2019-08-31

The European bioeconomy could have a positive impact in addressing the societal challenges (jobs, inclusiveness), environmental challenges (biodiversity, ecological balance) and economic challenges (resource efficiency, competitiveness) contributing to reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Bioeconomy is a complex and multi-factorial domain and its wide diffusion depends on the active collaboration of a broad range of stakeholders, including industry, brands, researchers, civil society and public authorities. This collaboration demands new interactions and synergies, all of which imply the development of new cross-sector interconnections in bio-based economy leading to new bio-based value chains.

A survey conducted in the context of the BIOWAYS project (GA720762) conducted in May/17, involving 452 participants and 41 high level stakeholders to better understand the future trends, obstacles and opportunities of bioeconomy, revealed that the consumer’s perception toward bio-based products is rapidly evolving.

The survey demonstrated that consumers are interested to become more active in shaping their future towards a more sustainable economy and they are willing to be involved in initiatives aiming at integrating their ideas, wishes and worries in the design of the bio-based economy.
Consumers are the key actors in driving changes, because they, eventually, make the economical choices. For this reason, in BIOBRIDGES we will engage them actively in the co-creation of more sustainable and acceptable solutions to environmental, societal and economical challenges.

This is confirmed by the 2017/2018 strategic orientation 4 of the BBI annual Work Plan, that aims at establishing cooperation and partnership with brand owners and consumer representatives, to improve market access of sustainable bio-based products, increasing dialogue among stakeholders on the benefits and risks of BBPs thus identifying and proposing solutions to remove potential hurdles to the increased use of the organic fraction of waste for the bio-based industry.

In light of this context, BIOBRIDGES’s overall aim is to ensure the marketability of bio-based products by establishing primary partnerships between Bio-based Industries, Brand owners and consumer representatives in cooperation with other stakeholders like local communities, local authorities and industrial actors in order to create at least 2 new cross-sector interconnections in bio-based economy cluster.
- A “Quality Plan” was prepared outlining the project management procedures to be followed throughout the project’s lifetime;
- An “Ethical requirements” report was created in order to ensure compliance with ethical and EU Commission requirements in accordance with the relevant organisational, national and international ethical regulations and guidelines.
- The kick off and 1 additional physical meeting were organised;
- 6 on-line meetings and additional ad hoc calls were organised to exchange ideas on the various project activities and agree on the partners’ contributions;
- The pre-financing was distributed to all partners following the procedures specified in the Consortium Agreement.

- Identified and analysed the factors that hinder or facilitate the collaboration among bio-based industry (producers), brand owners and retailers (introducing bio-based products into the market) and citizens (consumers);
- Analysed the supporting environment (strategies, incentives, etc.) facilitating multi-stakeholder and cross-sector cooperation for the development of bio-based products (BBPs) aligned with consumers’ needs; and
- Validated, enriched and updated WP2 findings, during a dedicated Focus Group Workshop, held in June 2019 in Brussels, with external experts active in various fields of bioeconomy.

- BIOBRIDGES stakeholder database and iContact account and the contact list were created.
- BIOBRIDGES stakeholders’ database was enriched with additional stakeholders (policy makers, public authorities, clusters, CSOs, NGOs, researchers, associations, consumers’ representatives, local communities, local authorities, and other industrial actors.
- The stakeholders (identified in WP2) were clustered.
- Potential Ambassadors and Advisory Board members were mapped and contacted.

- The Biobridges Platform, Structures and Procedures were created to support the co-creation events among Consumers, Bio-based Industries and Brand Owners that will be implemented in WP5.
- The visual promotional materials to support the involvement and engagement of stakeholders in the co-creation events was defined, as well as the concepts and strategy for the serious game supporting the process and the 3 videos tackling the respective target groups.

- 8 co-creation events were organised by M12 of the BIOBRIDGES project. Each event has detailed the information related to the scale of the events, the country where the events took place, the total amount of events organised, together with the information about the organisers of the event.

- Relevant inputs collected in the research conducted under WP2, the co-creation events under WP5, and the contacts with relevant stakeholders during the participation in external events under WP7, have been used to feed into Task 6.2.
- Work has been started regarding the analysis of the main results obtained in the BIOVOICES, BIOSTEP and BIOWAYS projects related to the most profitable cooperation possibilities under Task 6.3.
- All the activities above mentioned stemming from all WPs, including WP7, led to the 1st cross-sector interconnection created by the BIOBRIDGES project between Food City d.o.o from Croatia and DWS from the Netherlands.

- During the first period the focus of WP7 has been to create the conditions for an efficient and sound communication and dissemination of the project, namely the definition of the appropriate strategies and planning considering the scope of the project, developing the materials for a good communication (i.e. stationery), setting solid channels for communication (i.e. website, social networks, email marketing), develop promotional material (i.e. brochures, posters, roll-up, merchandising), and support the participation in events.
- The lead beneficiary of WP7 in collaboration with the consortium has successfully reached the main goals set for the first year of the project. This includes creating appropriate conditions for effici
The main potential impact of BIOBRIDGES is to create at least 2 new cross-sector interconnections in bio-based economy clusters. During this period we have created 1 of these interconnections and we have started the creation of a second one.
In addition, the organisation of 8 co-creation events involving 249 stakeholders, have contributed to increase consumers’ and brand owners’ confidence, trust and benefits’ awareness as well to establish primary partnerships between consumers’ representative, brand owners and bio-based industries to foster the acceptance and uptake of bio-based products to consumer markets, thus creating new bio-based value chains.