Aiming at low carbon pathways and sustainable growth, the EU has embarked on a bioeconomy strategy to replace building blocks in the fossil economy by renewable resources. To this end, the traditional bioeconomy would expand its role from being a mere food supplier towards an integrated supplier of a wide range of bio-based products and technologies in the wider economy.
The implications of a biobased transition in the economy may be far-reaching and scholars are beginning to develop approaches and frameworks supporting the assessment of socio-economic indicators, environmental impacts and societal risks related to bioeconomy advancements. In an environmentally extended input-output analysis, this research looks at the development of the EU bioeconomy in a temporal and spatial approach. The approach includes the monitoring of the (potential) transition of fossil to biobased carbon in a sectoral cluster analysis of 163 NACE sectors in the EU economy between 1995 and 2013.
The analysis is carried out at the level of individual member states and for the EU as a whole. Furthermore, a sustainability assessment is carried out from a production and a consumption perspective, indicating socio-economic outcomes, environmental footprints and the origin of biomass for selected member states (that show a biobased carbon transition). The results are discussed in relation to a systems-based monitoring framework to support safe and just bioeconomy pathways in society (de Schutter et al., forthcoming).