What are bio-based products and services?

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Bio-based products are products that are wholly or partly made from materials of biological origin (such as plants and trees), excluding materials embedded in geological formations and/or fossilised.

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. Many product areas could potentially feature products made entirely or partly from renewable bio-based material. Likewise, many types of services could potentially benefit from bio-based inputs. An example would be the goal to contract a cleaning service from a company using bio-based surfactants and detergents, which can be derived from vegetable oils.

Material or products such as food, feed and biomass used for energy production are excluded from InnProBio.


Why "bio-based" in green public procurement and public procurement of innovation?

Bio-based products and services can contribute to meeting the EU's climate protection goals, and this is why the European Union has declared this a high priority sector. These products can replace fossil based products (in many instances), which tend to have a larger ecological footprint in terms of CO2, waste, energy and water.

As part of the EU's Bioeconomy Strategy, bio-based products and services can lead to a “more innovative, resource efficient and competitive society that reconciles food security with the sustainable use of renewable resources for industrial purposes while ensuring environmental protection”. (Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European and Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe).

Bio-based products and services can contribute positively to:

  • Green growth and sustainability: As they are derived from renewable raw materials, they have the potential to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and lower CO2 emissions.
  • Innovation: Bio-based products can offer innovative and unique properties in certain applications. By stimulating their purchase, the public sector can boost innovation to deploy new markets and encourage building competitive industries.
  • Employment: The sector has the potential to create new jobs, particularly in rural areas, such as in bio-refineries.


Examples of bio-based products and services

A wide range of bio-based products are commercially available, from lubricants to pharmaceuticals and construction materials. In terms of public procurement, the following are some examples of the categories, products and services which are of relevance:

  • Buildings and construction work: Building insulation, indoor coatings, facade panels and some construction materials, such as pipes and plastics.
  • Catering services: Food packaging, tableware and cutlery, and issues regarding waste.
  • Cleaning products and services: Cleaning detergents, surfactants, hygiene and sanitary products.
  • Gardening products and services: Geotextiles, erosion mats, shielding (reed mats), plastic binders, plant containers and tree anchoring.
  • Indoor furniture and interiors: Furniture and office upholstery, particularly carpets and other kinds of flooring.
  • Office stationary: Ink, writing materials, mouse and staplers. 
  • Uniforms: Fabric fibres.
  • Vehicles: For certain automotive components, such as door interiors, seatback linings and floor panels.

Good practice

Take a look at the InnProBio good practice case studies, to learn more about concrete procurement activities of bio-based products and services.

Find out the facts

Take a look at the InnProBio factsheets. These cover some of the most relevant issues on bio-based products and services.