Commission gives the green light to the successor of BBI JU

23 February 2021

The European Commission has agreed on the successor of BBI JU – the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking (CBE JU) in a legislative proposal adopted today. The new partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) is expected to build on the success of BBI JU while stepping up its contribution to the EU’s climate targets, in line with the European Green Deal. The European Parliament and Council will now study the proposal before adopting its final version towards the end of the year.  

The European Commission has adopted today a proposal for the Council Regulation establishing nine joint undertakings under Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation framework programme for the 2021-2027 period. The proposal puts forward CBE JU, the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking, as a programme building on the achievements of BBI JU.

‘This is a great day for the European bioeconomy,’ said Philippe Mengal, the Executive Director of BBI JU. ‘CBE JU will take the success of BBI JU to the next level. It will continue fostering collaboration between the scientific community and industry, and de-risking investments, while placing the sustainability and biodiversity at the heart of every project’.

CBE JU is expected to scale up technologies leading to industrial deployment, thus attracting investments and creating jobs, while reaching towards the goals of the Strategic Innovation Research Agenda 2017 (SIRA). In addition, the partnership should involve a wider range of stakeholders including the primary sector, regional authorities and investors to prevent market failures and unsustainable bio-based processes. To deliver on its objectives, it should only fund projects that are respecting principles of circularity, sustainability and planetary boundaries.  Consequently, CBE is expected to significantly contribute to the EU’s climate targets for 2030, pave the way for climate neutrality by 2050, and advance circular and sustainable production in line with the European Green Deal.

Objectives of CBE JU

Bio-based industries are considered to be a key enabler of the green transition towards a resilient and environmentally sustainable EU economy. If the current proposal is adopted, CBE will build on the success of BBI JU to enlarge its scope and address technologic, regulatory and market challenges of these industries.

CBE JU will develop and expand the sustainable sourcing and conversion of biomass into bio-based products via multiscale biorefineries across sectors and regions in Europe. The partnership will support circular approaches such as the use of biological waste from agriculture, industry and municipal sectors to produce new bio-based products, goods and materials.

One of the main CBE’s targets will be investing in R&I across scientific disciplines that support bioeconomy and stimulating its uptake by the industry, thus helping to deploy bio-based innovation at regional scale with the view to revive rural and marginal regions.

Sustainability and biodiversity will be placed at the heart of CBE JU. Part of the research efforts will focus on increasing the sustainability of the bio-based industry’s production processes, and a robust monitoring system will be put in place to measure the environmental and socio-economic impact of CBE projects.

CBE JU is also expected to engage further with industry and policy stakeholders to contribute to a more coherent, supportive and stable regulatory framework, to raise awareness about the potential of bio-based industries and facilitate its uptake in Europe.

Operation of CBE JU

CBE JU is designed as a partnership between the European Union represented by the Commission, and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC). According to the proposed regulation, both public and private partners are committed to investing in the joint undertaking up to €2 billion, divided in two equal parts. A robust governance structure will be put in place to plan and supervise the operations of CBE JU, and keeping the governance structure of BBI JU a Programme Office will ensure the implementation of the initiative

CBE JU is part of nine institutionalised partnerships proposed for areas where public-private collaboration is needed to reach the objectives and impacts of Horizon Europe Framework Programme. By joining efforts, European partnerships should help speed up new solutions, particularly those that can decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in line with the European Green Deal targets, and help achieve the green and digital transitions.

Next steps

The European Parliament and Council will now study the proposal and engage in consultation with the Economic and Social Committee to finalise it. The adoption of the regulation is expected towards the end of the year. 

More information

  • About CBE

Press release by the European Commission

Statement by the Bio-based Industries Consortium

Proposal for a Council Regulation establishing the Joint Undertakings under Horizon Europe

Impact Assessment Report accompanying the proposal and its annexes

European Partnerships in Horizon Europe

  • About CBE’s policy framework

Horizon Europe

European Green Deal

  • About achievements of BBI JU

BBI JU: a high-impact initiative for green recovery of Europe 

Innovation in action - Joint Undertakings for cutting-edge research in Europe