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Bioeconomy Awareness and Discourse Project

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BioCannDo (Bioeconomy Awareness and Discourse Project)

Reporting period: 2018-04-01 to 2019-09-30

The Bioeconomy Awareness and Discourse Project (BioCannDo) raises awareness and acceptance of the broad public towards the bioeconomy and bio-based products through a strategic, stakeholder-driven information campaign.
Showing people that the bio-based economy offers something desirable, with new products, new functionalities and applications for their daily life, and that it provides answers to societal concerns (e.g. climate change), requires neutral and science-based information. BioCannDo presents such information in a way that is easy to understand for the general public. Collaborating with bio-based stakeholder networks and communities at EU, regional and national level, BioCannDo provides information, educational materials and key communication messages and the AllThings.Bio Infohub, which combines different means of online communication (e.g. social media, videos, journalistic articles).
The BioCannDo project has three overall objectives:
1. Develop multi-stakeholder proven key messages for communicating functionality and sustainability aspects of bio-based products with the general public (focus on household cleaning products, insulation materials, food packaging).
2. Engage a European stakeholder network of projects and initiatives dealing with communication issues regarding the bioeconomy in a joint communication undertaking towards the broader public.
3. Create synergies for existing materials and develop missing communication formats and educational material to communicate topics of the bioeconomy and bio-based products to the European citizens.

In conclusion, it can be stated that the project objectives were successfully achieved. BioCannDo provided valuable input, materials, formats and insights for the communication of bio-based products and the bioeconomy to consumers. Bioeconomy is still a field with a lot of uncertainty for consumers. There is a need for simple, direct and reliable consumer communication. What makes BioCannDo different from similar projects is that all of BioCannDo’s communication activities were based on a consumer’s perspective.
The project team developed key communication messages on cleaning products, insulation materials and food packaging. The key message development is based on case studies and a close collaboration with experts from the product field and consumers. Key messages have been developed using a 5-step methodology. First, potential messages were sourced from literature review. Next, messages were discussed within the consortium. Thirdly, messages were discussed with the Advisory Board and external experts before they were presented and discussed, fourth, in stakeholder workshops. Finally, these messages were tested in consumer focus groups. After every step, the key messages were revised and fine-tuned. A dedicated factsheet and additional communication materials are available for each of the three product groups. In addition, a fourth set of key messages on the bioeconomy in general has been published.
It was one of the main principles of BioCannDo to cooperate and share knowledge with other projects and initiatives. This was not only done to maximise the outcome of the project’s activities, but also to give other projects the chance to distribute their findings within the BioCannDo communication network. While the focus was on screening and assessing potentially relevant projects during the first reporting period (based on a developed mapping strategy using online research, interviews, bilateral meeting and conference participation), it shifted to exploiting the core community during the second period. An emphasis has been put on interlinking projects and cross-project analysis to identify experiences and insights.
To facilitate exchange within the network five webinars were organised to present research results from other projects and to discuss key messages developed by BioCannDo. A final workshop meeting with the network partners was organised in the frame of the European Bioeconomy Scene 2019 in Helsinki.
Centrepiece of BioCannDo activities is the development and maintaining of the AllThings.Bio Infohub. The Infohub acts as an information broker of materials and resources about bio-based products. Through the Infohub both original contents (developed by the BioCannDo team) and already existing resources are distributed. The BioCannDo Infohub uses a combination of distribution channels: the web portal – AllThings.Bio news multipliers, Twitter and Facebook.
New developments were screened and assessed and relevant topics and materials were identified. BioCannDo developed missing communication materials using different communication formats. Furthermore, eight social media video clips featuring bio-based products were published answering common consumer questions.
A mapping of educational materials and actors in four countries was conducted (Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and Finland). Gaps in educational materials were identified. New materials were developed. A student competition to develop additional new materials was organised. Five webinars were organised to facilitate exchange between educational actors.
BioCannDo had a very strong focus on consumers and their perspective. By providing consumers with trustworthy and target group-oriented information, they can better understand the role of a circular bioeconomy. Higher acceptance and confidence will support the market uptake of bio-based products. To make the bioeconomy a success, we cannot assume that consumers know what to expect from bio-based products. It is not enough that only experts know the advantages of bio-based products. Bio-based products have to be presented and explained as something beneficial and desirable to a broader public. BioCannDo communication activities rely on storytelling and relate to people’s life.
BioCannDo provided cross-project analyses of successful communication and engagement formats. Overarching recommendations on the communication of the bioeconomy are presented in a report. Main insights are also presented in a visually attractive publication called “The BioCannDo experience: Let`s talk about bio-based products. 10 insights on communicating the bioeconomy”.
BioCannDo contributed to a joint communication of European projects on the bioeconomy. The project has actively contributed to the European Bioeconomy Network, co-organised events and created synergies with its own communication network. BioCannDo supported and provided expertise for the initiative of EuBioNet to develop a joint consolidated action plan of communication activities as described in the updated European Bioeconomy Strategy.
In the field of education, BioCannDo compiled educational materials and programmes and made them accessible for the public. Within the project new educational materials were developed, an exchange between educational actors was facilitated and young people were involved through a competition for educational issues around the topic of bioeconomy.
Creating synergies and close collaboration with other stakeholders and the bio-based community (e.g. co-creation of key messages in workshops, organising webinars, identifying and sharing relevant content, organising a competition to develop educational materials, BioCannDo roadshow) maximised the outreach and societal impact of all project activities.
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