On the drawing board, the applications and techniques related to a biobased economy – an economy in which everything is produced sustainably and efficiently – seem promising. The actual transition appears more complex, however. The challenge is to develop all the fine ideas into useful concepts for businesses and consumers. How do we do that?
Realising the bio-based economy begins with the creation of the conditions necessary for successful implementation and organisation. These are effective chain cooperation, a good business climate, coherent government policies and public support among all stakeholders. To achieve them, a number of questions need to be answered: How can new chains with individually profitable links be set up? How can partners be brought together to do so? Is there a relationship between biofuels, food security and biodiversity? Should governments continue to subsidise bioenergy while scarce resources also have other, more lucrative applications? And how does one monitor the transition to a biobased economy when this cannot be distilled from the standard national statistics?
The growth of the biobased economy therefore calls for an integrated approach consisting of close cooperation and coordination between business, policy makers, NGOs and scientists. Wageningen Economic Research plays an important role within Europe and abroad in the process of encouraging sustainable, socially acceptable developments. By designing and realising new chains and clusters, by organising and mobilising the industry and stakeholders, and by investigating the market potential and degree of acceptance of the bio-based economy, we improve the competitiveness of industry clusters and individual companies, and that of the economy as a whole.
New revenue models and monitoring systems
In practice, this means that Wageningen Economic Research provides industry and governments with knowledge, data and fact-based information via policy and scenario analyses, forecasting, competitive analyses and chain & consumer research. We can also develop new business models and monitoring systems so that directors and managers are able to organise their role within the bio-based economy in a sustainable and efficient way.
A bio-based, circular economy
In a bio-based and circular economy, food, energy and fuel are produced sustainably and efficiently, and the recycling loops are closed as much as possible. It requires close cooperation between companies, policy-makers, NGOs and researchers. We help our customers to design and organise supply chains and clusters, mobilise the surrounding area and the stakeholders, and do research into the market potential and the societal acceptance of the bio-based economy. This way we improve the competitiveness of companies, regions and the economy as a whole.