Twenty-one new industry members were recently officially welcomed to the Bio-Based Industry Consortium (BIC) following approval by its governing bodies. Building on successive years of expanding membership, the addition of these new members demonstrates a sustained interest by industry in funding instruments for bioeconomy investments.
The new members span across the full geographical spectrum of the European continent, from Ireland to Estonia, Portugal to Finland, and as far afield as the United States (US) and Brazil. They range from large, international industries to smaller, standalone SMEs or clusters.
The addition of new members demonstrates the BBI JU’s continued centrality in creating cross-sectoral partnerships and in leveraging and de-risking investments in the circular bioeconomy BIC’s new members will bring an added dimension to its role in setting up new and innovative value chains, fostering new investments and stimulating jobs and growth in the bioeconomy, said Dirk Carrez, Executive Director of the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC).
Investing in European bioeconomy
BIC is a non-profit organisation set up in Brussels, Belgium in 2013 and represents the private sector in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with the European Commission, also known as the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU).
This public-private partnership aims to invest EUR 3.7 billion in bio-based innovation between 2014 and 2020. The BBI JU, operating under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation (R&I) programme , was set up as one of the pillars of the EU Bioeconomy strategy (2012).
The BIC has more than 160 industry members from sectors as diverse as agriculture, food and feed, aquaculture and marine, biochemicals and materials, forestry and pulp & paper, technology providers, waste management, brand owners and beyond.
It is the only EU-focused organisation on the bioeconomy which includes multiple sectors in its membership, covering the whole value chain: from primary production to brand owners, facilitating market uptake of new innovations.
BIC’s new members also illustrate the growing interest of non-EU industries in accessing funding for investment in the European bioeconomy. Amongst the new members, there is also a marked increase in representation from the aquaculture and marine and agriculture, food & feed sectors – both burgeoning sectors of the European bioeconomy.
BIC’s ever-expanding membership will open new opportunities to create long-lasting synergies between sectors, a process which BIC membership facilitates, laying the foundations for new bio-based value chains, of which more than one hundred are expected to be created by 2020.
According to BIC, its growing membership is also evidence of the impact of the BBI JU and its importance in driving industry investment decisions in the European bioeconomy. The latest investment figures confirm that BIC members have more than doubled their investment plans in the bioeconomy from EUR 2.1 million in 2014 to EUR 5.5 billion in 2018, a trend that BIC expects to continue with the BBI JU’s support.