Sustainability

2021-10-07

European bioeconomy robust as bio-based industry turnover jumps to 780 billion EUR

Graphic: Turnover and employees of the Bioeconomy 2018 Source: nova-Institut GmbH
The bio-based industries continue their ascent marking a total contribution of 780 billion EUR, a notable increase of 30 billion EUR (+ 4%) compared to 2017. This represents a more than 20% increase compared to 2008 which is the earliest data taken into account in this series of reports by nova-Institute. The first report of the series was first commissioned by the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) in 2017. Figures for the bio-based chemical industry (including plastics) alone reveal a turnover of around 54 billion EUR with the bio-based share relatively stable at around 15%, up from 7.5% in 2008.

The analysis of the 2018 Eurostat data shows that the turnover of the total bioeconomy*, including food and beverages and the primary sectors of agriculture and forestry, amounts to just over 2.4 trillion EUR in the EU-27 and the United Kingdom, an increase of around 25% since 2008. The food and beverage sector accounts for about half of the turnover, the bio-based industries, such as chemicals and plastics, pharmaceuticals, paper and paper products, forest-based industries, textiles, biofuels and bioenergy account for roughly 30%, while almost another 20% are generated by the primary sectors of agriculture and forestry. 

In contrast to the rising turnover figures, employment in the European bioeconomy has declined slightly from 18.5 million people in 2017 to a total of 18.4 million people in 2018, largely due to efficiency increases in production. The primary biomass production, mainly agriculture, provides a majority of the entire employment (54%) but a comparatively low turnover (20%). 



The data also demonstrates clear differences between groups of Member States. For example, the Central and Eastern European countries of Poland, Romania and Bulgaria are more represented in the lower value-added sectors of the bio-based economy, which create many jobs. This indicates a strong agricultural sector that tends to be labour-intensive compared to the high value-added sectors. In comparison, Western and Northern European countries generate much higher turnover relative to employment, indicating a larger share of refining and value-added industries. The countries with the highest turnover-to-employment ratios are Finland, Belgium and Sweden.

The full report is free of charge and available here:

http://www.renewable-carbon.eu/publications/product/european-bioeconomy-in-figures-2008-2018-pdf/



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