JRC Technical report: Estimating employment and value added in the bioeconomy of EU regions

Bioeconomy, in addition to being one of the key enablers to fulfil the EU objectives of climate neutrality, brings along several other benefits such as creating jobs and opportunities for sustainable regional economic development, which are also objectives addressed in the European Union’s (EU) Bioeconomy Strategy.

Despite the importance of the analysis and monitoring of the bioeconomy at the regional level for policy design, there are no homogeneous datasets allowing the analysis of the regional dimension of the EU’s bioeconomy, and only some initiatives provide estimates of the size and/or regional distribution of the bioeconomy in some countries.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission’s science and knowledge service, has published this year the Technical report Estimating employment and value added in the bioeconomy of EU regions, which provides a methodological proposal to estimate employment and value-added of the bioeconomy sectors at the NUTS2 (regional) level in the EU.

The report presents a methodology that consists of a systematic combination of bio-based shares (defined as the share in biomass content of all products produced by a given sector) from the publically available JRC-Bioeconomics database with Eurostat regional statistics for allocating employment and value added of the bioeconomy sectors amongst regions. The lack of data for some sectors, was the main challenge identified in this process. When missing from Eurostat data sources, regional series were estimated by applying various criteria to regionalize national statistics, and data estimation algorithms.

The results allowed to identify some positive aspects in the data, but also the necessity to address some discrepancies and validate the results with expert knowledge to improve the results. Some relevant future lines of action that may serve to progressively improve the accuracy of estimations were:

  • To find criteria that allow refining the estimates for the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector. A corrective coefficient for the productivity level of forests is required, as well as criteria to distribute employment and gross value added in the fisheries sector amongst regions.
  • To adjust the national bio-based shares to the regions, so to consider the territorial distribution of bio-based activities.
  • To explore more realistic assumptions to calculate the regional gross value added than the use of national labour productivity. The latter can indeed hide possible regional economic disparities.
  • The use of national data sources to obtain more disaggregated and relevant information for estimation problems.

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Partnerships for Regional Innovation: first pilot plenary meeting

The Partnerships for Regional Innovation – PRI Pilot Action held its first pilot plenary meeting on 7 July 2022. The initiative was launched in June jointly by the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions. The first plenary meeting was an interactive event to generate discussions, dialogue, and co-creation among all PRI Pilot participants. It presented the policy context around PRI, the PRI Playbook and a proposal for a PRI Pilot roadmap, outlining the organization of pilot activities

Bioregions Facility has been selected to participate in the pilot project as a group of regions, consisting of its current regional members: Basque Country; North Rhine-Westphalia; and North Karelia. Representatives of the Facility joined the event, together with more than 150 participants.

The online event, started with the presentation of the New Innovation Agenda for Europe and PRI, highlighting the need of a holistic approach, investment, diffusion, circular economy, and innovation to tackle global challenges such as climate change. The work that PRI does at a regional level was also emphasized, including establishing networks, creating cooperation and consortia in regions working in the same value chain.

A call was made to select a contact person representing each region with an academic or scientific background to act as a scientific track and maintain constant interaction with the directive.

The PRI Playbook

During the event, the PRI Playbook was presented as a guidance document, containing a range of tools and mechanisms to coordinate and enable the exploration of broad-ranging policy mixes for system-level innovation. The playbook will act as an empowering tool for policymakers and should be adapted to European realities, as it will be co-created via joint work and with feedback from the regions.

It contains a Toolbox that gathers 68 tools for diagnosis, policy design and implementation; and three building blocks as an initial approach to be co-developed through the pilot: Open Discovery Process, Policy and Action Mix and the Strategic Policy framework. Three working groups will be working around each building block.

The event ended with a discussion and feedback from pilot participants from the different participant regions, and final remarks from the EU committee.

Michal Miedzinski, economic and policy researcher at JRC said: “This is a collective effort from the bottom, with the best minds we can gather and do a collation of the willing, these are all the ingredients we need to move forward“.

Thomas Wobben, Director at Committee of the Regions gave a strong final message: “We really hope that this collaboration is building on trust, that we are able to have a frank exchange, and that we can help each other”

Background

The Partnerships are rooted in the upcoming Innovation Agenda for Europe to help integrate initiatives and investment at EU and national levels. It is an effort directly targeted to improve Innovation ecosystems as one essential area to boost Europe’s innovation performance. The key objective is to strengthen interconnection of regional and local innovation ecosystems for a green and digital Europe and to improve resilience of European sustainable value chains and deep-tech sectors.

What is social farming?

Social farming offers people who are socially, physically, mentally or intellectually disadvantaged the opportunity to spend time on a family farm in a healthy, supportive and inclusive environment.

Towards the inclusion of circular bioeconomy aspects in public procurement – status quo

Three European regions exchanged on the status quo of public procurement (PP) during the first Bioregions webinar on PP practices. The potential of PP to integrate and advance bio-based, circular, green, sustainable and innovative purchase at regional level and in considerable volume was discussed.

Public procurement (PP) is a potential tool to integrate and advance bio-based, circular, green, sustainable or even innovative purchase at regional level and in considerable volume. The Bioregions Facility is exploring in detail how public procurement can achieve this.

On the 27th of November 2020, the first Bioregions webinar on current regional PP practices brought together stakeholders from the Basque Country, North Rhine-Westphalia and North Karelia to share views on advancing the bioeconomy and including green aspects in PP. They discussed how public procurement works in their area and how the aspects of circular forest bioeconomy are currently included in tenders, as well as sharing their experiences on including new products and services in tenders that reflect innovation and green values.

The key messages of the webinar and a summary of the status quo of PP in the Basque Country, North Rhine-Westphalia and North Karelia are captured in the briefing notes from the webinar. The regional PP summaries give an overview of what the regional PP looks like, the regions` key goals and their experiences.

They discussed how public procurement works in their area and how the aspects of circular forest bioeconomy are currently included in tenders, as well as sharing their experiences on including new products and services in tenders that reflect innovation and green values.

The key messages of the webinar and a summary of the status quo of PP in the Basque Country, North Rhine-Westphalia and North Karelia are captured in the briefing notes from the webinar. The regional PP summaries give an overview of what the regional PP looks like, the regions` key goals and their experiences.