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Circular Choices: Building EU open strategic autonomy and innovation

Circular Choices: Building EU open strategic autonomy and innovation

Circular Choices: Building EU open strategic autonomy and innovation

Townhall Europe – Wednesday 20th March


Today, Circular Choices coalition members gathered in Brussels for a public event to discuss the need to sustain their sector’s global leadership in innovation as well as its role in the EU ‘open strategic autonomy’. Attendees had the chance to discuss with the actors driving the European bioeconomy, including policymakers from the EU institutions and industry representatives. The first session brought together five hands-on protagonists of the bioeconomy from across the EU, from Finland to Spain. Each speaker presented its own case and experience with bioeconomy innovation.


Bioenergy Europe contributed with Antonio Gonzalo Perez, CEO of Monte Holiday Ecoturismo in Spain, a key member of our Spanish partner Avebiom. Antonio Gonzalo Perez explained how bioenergy and sustainable forest management work together in his forest to prevent forest fires:


“The question we face is: should our spending prioritise extinguishing forest fires, or should we focus more on preventing them in the first place? Using Biomass for us is a win win win solution, for people’s safety, forest fires prevention, renewables use.”


Over the past few decades, an increasing frequency of large, uncontrollable wildfires has put at risk the safety of European citizens. The profound repercussions of these wildfires, impacting the economy, society, and the environment, have extended beyond the Mediterranean regions. Presently, wildfires are a reality within the forests of central and northern Europe.


Boosting biotechnology and biomanufacturing in the EU

On the same day, the EU Commission released a communication on ‘Boosting biotechnology and biomanufacturing in the EU’. Both the core topics of the event, innovation and autonomy, are at the centre of the Commission’s document.
The communication recognises the EU’s leadership in biotech and biomanufacturing innovation. It also acknowledges the role of domestic supply of renewable energy and renewable raw materials, while addressing the intense technological competition in the sector at global level.


The Circular Choices coalition highlights the crucial role of the biobased sector in delivering the EU’s Net-Zero goals. It is estimated that the forest-based sector allows for the annual sequestration of 806 Mt of CO2 equivalent – this corresponds to mitigating 20% of the EU’s total fossil emissions. An effect can be enhanced if more fossil energy, raw materials and products can be displaced.


Coalition members welcomed the Communication but agreed that the EU Commission could go even further, and optimise the EU internal market for bioeconomy products to scale up on domestic markets, considering their role both in climate change mitigation and ensuring a strategic open autonomy.
To find out more download the Press Release.


The Circular Choices Coalition was established in 2023 to promote the policy and market conditions necessary in the EU to scale-up the circular bioeconomy. The coalition brings together trade associations representing providers of renewable products and renewable energy solutions. And it is supported by a further six trade associations that represent EU forest owners and managers.