European Bioeconomy in Figures 2008 – 2015 (update April 2018)

The bioeconomy comprises those parts of the economy that use renewable biological resources from land and sea – such as crops, forests, fish, animals and micro-organisms – to produce food, materials and energy. In 2016, a study conducted by nova-Institute on behalf of the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) showed for the first time which macroeconomic effects are generated by these activities, e.g. turnover, employment etc. for the years 2008 and 2013. This study has now been updated with data for 2014 and 2015.

The analysis of the Eurostat data of 2015 shows that the turnover of the total bioeconomy, including food and beverages and the primary sectors agriculture and forestry, results in 2.3 trillion € in the EU-28. Roughly half of the turnover is accounted for by the food and beverages sector, almost a quarter is created by the primary sectors, agriculture and forestry. The other quarter is created by the so-called bio-based industries, such as chemicals and plastics, pharmaceuticals, paper and paper products, forest-based industries, textile sector, biofuels and bioenergy.

The bioeconomy employs 18.5 million people in total. The primary biomass production, mainly agriculture plus forestry and fishery, generates a lot of employment (55%).

As in the 2016 study, this update highlights the contribution of the often underrated bio-based industries, such as chemicals and plastics, pharmaceuticals, paper and paper products, forest-based industries, textile sector, biofuels and bioenergy to the bioeconomy. This sector shows considerable turnover of almost 700 billion € and 3.7 million employees in the EU-28 in 2015. In the bio-based chemical industry alone, turnover amounted to around 30 billion €.

Read the full report by Dr. Stephan Piotrowski, Michael Carus (nova-Institut), Dr. Dirk Carrez (BIC), updated April 2018