"The bio-economy includes all activities using organic material or biological processes"
This description gives the full picture of the bioeconomy, and its importance to our society. These activities are extremely diverse and are part of different sectors, such as agriculture and food production, waste treatment, the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors, energy and materials production. These sectors in turn form the basis of essential value chains for food, consumer products, construction or energy and water supply or management of landscapes and natural areas.
Why a sustainable circular bioeconomy?
The bioeconomy is an essential part of the sustainable circular Flemish economy, and can make a substantial contribution to reducing our dependence on imports of raw materials.
The bioeconomy is also an important link in the transition to make our economy carbon neutral. This can be done by building new value chains that ensure a closed carbon cycle. With the right incentives, the bioeconomy can provide us with bio-based alternatives to 'fossil products', with minimal climate impact.
The transition to a bioeconomy also has the potential to make our local economy resilient and stronger, and certainly by putting a strong focus on supporting SMEs in the agricultural and agri-food sectors.
Strengths of Flanders
Flanders has some unique assets to grow the bioeconomy.
1. Lots of knowledge and thorough research
Flanders is a strong knowledge region with a high density of research centres and universities of international standing. Flanders' position in Europe is very strong in areas such as biotechnology, food, materials technology and chemistry.
2. Clusters of innovative companies
This long-standing specialisation has led to strong business involvement in these fields, and has also supported the development of local specialised clusters. All this therefore ensures that Flanders can accelerate the transition to a bioeconomy through system innovation.
3. Ports as incubators
Further technological development is also generating strong interest among Flemish ports. The long-term strategies of the Flemish ports contain all the elements that can support further bio-based development.
4. Agri-food sector seizes opportunities
The Flemish agricultural sector has many innovative farmers working with local partners to set up new technologies or value chains. A growing bioeconomy is creating new activities and income streams for farmers and the entire agri-food sector.