Supply Side
InnProBio Produces Factsheet on Bio-Based Products for Public Sector Buyers

As we said in our roundup on Friday — we would cover InnProBio in more depth. InnProBio, the Forum for Bio-Based Innovation in Public Procurement, aims to build a community of public procurement practitioners interested in Public Procurement of Innovation (PPI) of Bio-Based Products and Services (BBPS). InnPRoBio is supported by a range of universities, institutes and other bodies from a number of European countries (such as the Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR) in Germany, the Universities of Hull and Łódź, and PIANOo, the Dutch Public Procurement Expertise Centre).

Bio-based products are products that are wholly or partly made from materials of biological origin (such as plants and trees, sugar or mixed biomass waste), excluding materials embedded in geological formations and/or fossilised. For example, products of bio-origin can replace many plastics, which are of course oil-based. Bio-based products can be “bio-based versions” of traditional products or novel products with entirely new and innovative functionalities and offering the potential for new and existing markets. Bio-based end products include a wide range of different goods, ranging from construction materials to catering products, protective coatings to furnishings.

Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe” was published by the European Commission in 2012. Here is an extract from that document.

Advancements in bioeconomy research and innovation uptake will allow Europe to improve the management of its renewable biological resources and to open new and diversified markets in food and bio-based products. Establishing a bioeconomy in Europe holds a great potential: it can maintain and create economic growth and jobs in rural, coastal and industrial areas, reduce fossil fuel dependence and improve the economic and environmental sustainability of primary production and processing industries. The bioeconomy thus contributes significantly to the objectives of the Europe 2020 flagship initiatives “Innovation Union” and “A Resource Efficient Europe”.  

There are already a wide range of commercially available bio-based products on the market offering a diverse range of functionalities. However, many people (including public sector buyers) do not understand what they can be used for or why should the public sector purchase them. And how can procurers ensure that they have been produced in a sustainable manner? What types of standards are available?

In an attempt to provide more information about the most relevant issues concerning bio-based products and services, a series of factsheets will be published by InnProBio which will focus just on these and other similar issues. They will aim to answer those and other key questions in the fact sheets, and the first in the series, titled “What are bio-based products”?  has just been published – you can read and download it here. Here is an extract from the factsheet.

Bio-based products and sustainability

Sustainability of bio-based products is dependent on multiple factors, such as sourcing of feedstock, design of the production process, adequate choice of disposal option, etc. Life Cycle Assessments and environmental product labels (such as third party managed ecolabels) provide reliable information for some products.

Sustainable sourcing and smart use of biomass can lead to the production of goods which are improved versions of traditional fossil-based alternatives or completely new items, and thus can contribute positively to savings in greenhouse gas emissions, toxicity, waste reduction and a long-term shift away from finite resources. Check out our website and upcoming factsheets for more information on this topic.