Many definitions of the Bioeconomy exist. Defining Bioeconomy is of utmost importance as the definition is the basis on which key sectors are identified, policies designed and priorities acknowledged. Definitions change and evolve; some of them emphasize the technology aspect, others the economic contribution of the bioeconomy or the importance of a sound knowledge-base and the sustainable utilisation of biological resources. Some others interpret it in more philosophical terms, e.g. (“A vision for the future society” (Socaciu, 2014, p1) or “A future in which we rely on renewable biological resources to meet our needs for food, materials and energy” (EC, 2014). Despite the different visions similarities, such as the emphasis on economic output and a broad, cross-sectoral focus keep constant.

The European Commission adopts a process-oriented definition of the Bioeconomy and defines it as: "the production of renewable biological resources and the conversion of these resources and waste streams into value added products, such as food, feed, bio-based products and bioenergy. Its sectors and industries have strong innovation potential due to their use of a wide range of sciences, enabling and industrial technologies, along with local and tacit knowledge." Source: "Innovating for Sustainable Growth - A Bioeconomy for Europe" (2012) 

Bioeconomy comprises those parts of the economy that use renewable biological resources from land and sea – such as crops, forests, fish, animals and micro-organisms – to produce food, materials and energy. The market at EU level presents an annual turnover of around two trillion euro, and employs around 18 million people. It is already one of the Union's biggest and most important sectors while its potential for the future is even greater.

Bioeconomy has been gaining momentum since September 2005 with 50 countries and regions around the world now having a Bioeconomy strategy or related document in place. Europe's Bioeconomy Strategy addresses the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into vital products and bio-energy. It was recently updated to accelerate the deployment of a sustainable European bioeconomy so as to maximise its contribution towards the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the Paris Agreement.

The new strategy aims at strengthening the connection between economy, society and the environment. More engagement is necessary. The bioeconomy community needs to develop a clear, visible corporate identity. More global platforms are needed to share views and change views, and to learn mutually about practices, good and bad. This is one of the conclusions indeed also of the World BioEconomy Forum 2018.

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