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InnProBio - eNewsletter
Issue #2 May 2016

Dear colleague,

We are pleased to send you the second edition of the InnProBio e-newsletter! Since the project kicked off in March 2015, quite some progress has been made towards building a community of public purchasers interested in the procurement of bio-based products and their associated services.

This newsletter provides an update of the achievements so far, as well as some of the latest news on bio-based products and public procurement.

Happy reading!
Your InnProBio team


In this issue

  Project news

  Other news

  Upcoming events

  Project news

The InnProBio survey sheds light on barriers and hurdles for procurers and suppliers of bio-based products and services

The InnProBio survey – run between October and December 2015 – has thrown some light on the main barriers and hurdles faced by public entities when procuring bio-based products and services, and the main obstacles encountered by suppliers when working with public entities.

Procurers have pointed out that one of the main difficulties they encounter is the limited access to financial support, alongside the fact that innovative products tend to be associated with bearing higher costs. The lack of expertise or experience in dealing with innovative products is another problem that sometimes seems to result in technical difficulties and misinformation. Procurers are only familiar with some groups of bio-based products, such as office supplies, but not so much with catering, packaging, furniture or construction materials. The results from the survey show that there is an interest in bio-based products by those responsible for procurement, however information and awareness about the various options seems to be lacking.

Representatives from companies (such as suppliers) which took part in the survey have suggested that the price of the products is usually their first disadvantage when competing with fossil-based alternatives. Another issue seems to be that environmentally friendly features of products are not always taken into consideration in tendering procedures. In order to increase awareness further, companies who took part in the survey suggest that training or awareness raising initiatives on the side of the procurers about the additional benefits of bio-based products and materials could help increase market uptake. Tools that can help quantify the eco-benefits of bio-based products were also suggested as being beneficial.

The analysis of the questionnaires received will assist the InnProBio team to continue shaping the project, particularly with regards to bridging the gap between providers and procurers. All details and conclusions from the survey can be found here.

Image copyright: Freeimages


First factsheet available to provide clarity on bio-based products and services

The InnProBio team has produced the first in a series of factsheets with information on bio-based products and services. The publication is of interest to those who would like to find out more about what bio-based products are and the differences between those and traditional (fossil-based) products.

The benefits of bio-based products (i.e. for sustainable development), such as their potential to reduce the economy’s dependence on fossil fuels, to create green jobs, and to drive European innovation, are highlighted in this first factsheet.

The next two factsheets, addressing the topics of Sustainability and Biodegradability (separately), will be available in the coming weeks.

Take a read of the first factsheet by visiting www.innprobio.eu/bio-based-products-services/factsheets/


Training and market dialogue at the German conference on “Bio-based Materials in Procurement”

The German conference “Nachwachsende Rohstoffe im Einkauf” (bio-based materials in procurement) will be held in Berlin from 2-3 November 2016. InnProBio will be using the event as an opportunity to run a workshop (as a side-event)  to train public procurers and relevant decision makers on bio-based products. The workshop will focus on sharing knowledge, good practice and tools developed through InnProBio to facilitate the public procurement of bio-based products and services (BBPS). This training workshop will be a stepping stone for public procurers to create an expert group on the procurement of innovative BBPS that could launch their own procurement of BBPS.

Along with the conference, a bio-based product show will also take place during both days. InnProBio will facilitate a market dialogue at the product show to improve the market knowledge of public purchasers and the understanding of the needs of suppliers.

The events will be held in German.

More information about the conference is available here.

If you are interested in the training workshop, please contact innprobio@fnr.de

Image copyright: Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain


First InnProBio market dialogue held in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

The Dutch Public Procurement Expertise Centre (PIANOo) – one of the InnProBio partners – the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Erasmus Medical Centre (The Netherlands) and the hospitals Reinier de Graaf and Rijnstate co-organised the first market dialogue on bio-based disposables for healthcare and catering. The event took place on April 19 and the focus was on the actual purchasing needs of hospitals and of the Dutch government.

More than 130 people from local, regional and national governments, hospitals, producers and suppliers discussed their requirements, barriers and solutions related to bio-based disposables.

The deputy director of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Karin Weustink, explained the importance of a bio-based economy and how public procurers can set a good example for the private sector to move away from a fossil-based economy. Participants at the event were also informed about bioplastics and their biodegradability. Later on, procurement practitioners presented their wish lists for bio-based solutions both in the healthcare and the catering sectors. The companies attending the market dialogue also had opportunities to present their products, and listened to the comments from the audience on whether these solutions meet or do not meet procurers’ needs.

In the healthcare session, bio-based alternatives for traditional products among several product categories were discussed, such as sheets, gloves and garbage bags.

Those who attended the event will receive information on follow-up activities

For further information about InnProBio’s market dialogue activities, please contact Carla Dekker from PIANOo.

Image copyright: PIANOo


The online community for bio-based continues growing

More than 60 people are now part of the Bio-based Group on the Procurement Forum. The group was set up as a space for different stakeholders to share their knowledge and experiences on the topic of bio-based products and public procurement. Procurers, researchers and company representatives from more than 10 countries are involved in the group, and discuss the latest news and issues regularly online.

During the past few months, news on the new French legislation on bio-based and home compostable plastic bags and food disposables was presented for discussion. Information on European bio-based standards was also shared so that members of the group are aware that a standard is available for comments.

The group on the Procurement Forum aims to strengthen the community of people interested in encouraging the bio-based economy. The Procurement Forum is the meeting point of international stakeholders to discuss, share, learn from one another, get a better understanding of procurement issues and improve public procurement practices.


  Other news

Call for innovative small and medium sized companies committed to the bioeconomy

The European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy (EFIB) PitchFest 2016 – a programme of investor-ready support for innovative small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) – is open for applications until June 20.

SMEs interested in applying need to meet all the set requirements, such as  being committed to the bioeconomy agenda, seeking investment of (minimum) one million euro, and willing to participate in a programme of business mentoring and pitch training, among others. The objective of the EFIB PitchFest 2016 is to create a positive investment climate for the bioeconomy, facilitating entrepreneurship and creating a supportive environment for SMEs.

EFIB 2016 will take place in Glasgow, Scotland, from 18-20 October 2016. The programme of the event is under development. 

To apply or to find out more, click here.

Image copyright: Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain


Are bio-based plastics a solution for marine littering? EU project Open-Bio comments on the recent UNEP report

In November last year, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) published a report investigating whether bio-based, biodegradable plastics can be a part of the solution for marine littering. There is clear evidence that our oceans are strongly polluted by plastic debris – so the idea of introducing plastics that can biodegrade in the marine environment seems promising to some people, but is also controversial on many levels.

Open-Bio is a project looking at several topics covering the market entry of bio-based products, including standardisation and biodegradation. A team of high-level European biodegradation experts are working on validating test methods of biodegradation of bio-based plastics in soil, in fresh water, and in marine water.

This team of experts has now commented on the UNEP report, highlighting its value, but also pointing out missing facts, premature conclusions and the need for further research to assess the real impact of biodegradable plastics on the ocean. The experts conclude “that biodegradable plastics are not a solution to littering. Littering must be opposed by means of prevention, waste management […], public awareness, etc. On the other hand, plastics that are shown to be truly biodegradable in the marine environment could be profitably used in those applications where dispersion in the sea is certain or highly probable (e.g. fishing gear, fish farming gear, beach gear, paint, etc.).” See the Open-Bio website for the full statement.

Image copyright: Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain


Conference on public procurement in Lodz, Poland

The Centre for Public Procurement and Public-Private Partnership and the Chair of European Economic Law, Faculty of Law and Administration, at the University of Lodz (Poland), will hold an international conference on “Reform of the Public Procurement Law III. Strategic Procurement” from 29-30 September in Lodz.

The aim of the conference is to analyse the regulations on the system of public procurement, both in terms of the new European directives (adopted in 2014) and the Polish regulations. The programme will focus on green procurement, innovation and social aspects.

The conference is aimed at public authorities, contractors, academics and practitioners that are interested in public procurement and want to know how it can be used as a tool to promote sustainable development and green economy. The InnProBio team will take part in the event.

Image copyright: Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain


  Upcoming events

Bio-based chemicals / Bio-based products 2016

The event will allow participants to hear from over 50 industry-leaders involved in bio-based chemical innovations and commercialisation. Some of the topics that will be discussed are how to drive a greater sustainability through bio-based chemicals, how to deliver sustainable products in a competitive marketplace, what strategy to follow to compete with petroleum economies of scale, and key strategies to move beyond the valley of death.

24-25 May 2016
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Link: www.biobasedproductsworld.com/europe


The European Biomass Conference and Exhibition

The European Biomass Conference and Exhibition (EUBCE) covers the entire value chain of biomass to conduct business, network, and to present and discuss the latest developments and innovations. It aims to inform the biomass community and to accelerate growth.

The EUBCE will host a dynamic international exhibition for companies and research labs to showcase their latest products. This will help to bring scientists, technologists and key players together with leading biomass industries and organisations.

6-9 June 2016
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Link: www.eubce.com


Sustainable Catering Forum in Ghent

The Sustainable Catering Forum will bring together a mix of learners, thinkers and doers working in the field of sustainable public procurement from all over Europe. Among the participants will be public procurers of food and catering services, local and regional government representatives, catering suppliers, researchers and more.

The aim is to learn from each other, exchange experience and build new alliances for the changes needed to respond to the environmental, economic and social challenges that city-region food systems face. Guidance and experiences gathered over the last three years from the European INNOCAT project, on purchasing eco-innovative catering and food will be on show through the interactive one-day programme. To register, click here

9 June
Ghent, Belgium
Link: www.sustainable-catering.eu/participate/upcoming-event/

3rd International Conference on Bioinspired and Biobased Chemistry & Materials

The scientific and international Nature Inspires, Chemistry Engineers (N.I.C.E.) Conferences are organised with the aim to share new developments in the growing field of bio-inspired chemistry and materials, and to understand the new challenges for the future. Among the topics that will be discussed at this year’s event will be green chemistry, nanomaterials, renewable energy and bio-based chemistry.

16-19 October 2016
Nice, France
Link: sites.unice.fr/site/tarrade/NICE2016/

InnProBio - partners