How big is the bioeconomy?

The critical role of the Circular Bioeconomy in the sustainable transition has been widely recognised, to the point that a number of countries worldwide have  laborated their bioeconomy strategies and others are in the process of framing their own. The purpose of this report is to advance more objective and rigorous measurement and analysis of the bioeconomy according to the broad definition of the European Commission in 2018. Our focus is mainly on the economic indicators, aiming at the inclusion of bio-based services derived from the symmetric input-output tables from the system of national accounts available from Eurostat and additional expert information.

As the main conclusion of the report, we propose a synthesis of input- and output-based approaches. This is motivated by the fact that determining the bio-based weights according to the input-output tables implicitly assumes that the bio-based share of outputs is the same as that of inputs. Clearly, this is not the case for the primary bio-based production sectors – agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture. Where the outputs are completely bio-based for these sectors, the inputs are far from being 100% bio-based. On the other hand, relying exclusively on the bio-based content of the output would ignore the use of bio-based inputs in the production process. To take into account the bio-based content in both inputs and outputs, we propose to consider weighted averages for the industries.

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