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.