Encouraging brand owners to switch to bio-based in highly innovative ecosystems
The value of the bioeconomy to the EU is beyond doubt. It provides employment for 8.2 % of the workforce and has a turnover of €2.3 trillion. While the EU continues to invest in developing the sector, a key component of the future success of the bioeconomy relies on the widespread uptake of the products and technologies it is producing. At the heart of this lie consumers; it is consumers that will drive the transition from a fossil-based to a bio-based economy. They need to want the products and be convinced that the products will meet their expectations.
Ultimately, the job of building consumer confidence in bio-based products lies with the brand owners. Many brand owners have been reluctant in the past to place the resources behind this, due to perceived risks and concerns over the stability of the sectors. However, where brand owners have embraced the decision to adopt a bio-based approach, it has provided the impetus to stimulate value chain building and to accelerate bioproducts to market as well as helping align these to consumers demand.
The BIOSWITCH project aims to encourage and support brand owners when choosing to switch to a bio-based approach. It will do this by creating a framework – through a series of events and outreach activities – that places brand owners at the centre of a triangle consisting of the public administration, the bio-based industry and consumers. This will allow them to determine solutions that reduce the potential risk in making this switch. It will also provide a BIOSWITCH toolbox that will assist companies in their transition.
The overall objective of the BIOSWITCH project is to ensure the continued uptake of the outputs of the bio-based industry by encouraging brand owners to adopt it as a core value. Within this, the project has set a number of specific objectives. It will:
- Develop a network of brand owners, in order to help identify best practices and assess their principal needs, perceived risks, motivation and incentives for switching to a bio-based approach.
- Deliver the so-called ‘BIOSWITCH toolbox’ as an effective aid for companies seeking to switch to a bio-based approach.
- Validate the toolbox with real brand owners from different sectors and maturity levels, incorporating their feedback in finalising its configuration.
- Roll out the BIOSWITCH toolbox at European level and replicate it at a regional level, developing a users’ guide to the toolbox and organising training workshops. There will also be a consumer outreach campaign.
In delivering its overall objectives, the BIOSWITCH project aims to encourage brand owners to embrace bio-based as a product benefit. Within this, it seeks to:
- Make the EU a leader in the bio-based economy, strengthening its economic growth and industrial competitiveness.
- Unlock untapped biomass resource by raising awareness of its potential profitability with owners.
- Create four new value chains for the four case studies.
- Gather information and insights that will be relevant to bio-based packaging needs and requirements.