Finally Italy has its own strategy on bioeconomy. This was announced by Paolo Bonaretti, representative of the Ministry of Economic Development, last week in Rimini, Emilia Romagna Region, during an event on the bioeconomy in the Mediterranean organized within the Ecomondo Fair, with the presence, among others, of John Bell, Director for BioEconomy, DG Research & Innovation EU Commission, and Philippe Mengal, executive director of the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking. Good news, then, for the bioeconomy in Italy. The new strategy will be published on the web site www.agenziacoesione.gov.it starting from 20th November for an open public consultation, which will last a month.
As Catia Bastioli, Ceo Novamont, said to us in an exclusive interview on 9th April, Italy needs “a coherent overall framework and a clear strategy at a national level to support the competitiveness of our industry and make the necessary cultural leap that, to be such, must invest the entire society. But paradoxically, our country has already, in some ways, a bioeconomy model and is ready in terms of technology. Value chains like that of biochemicals and bioplastics, conceived as solutions that can transform environmental problems, such as organic waste, in resources, show that Italy is widely able to create highly innovative and systemic models, which are patterns in terms of competitiveness and international consensus. At international level, Italy has the best standards of separate collection and quality of organic wastes, with the city of Milan that sets an example worldwide. It has conceived the concept of biorefinery integrated in the local area, also considered with interest by the European Commission, with long chains up to agriculture. And different regions are now actually trying to put into practice a bioeconomy model intended as territorial regeneration”.
According to John Bell, “the Bioeconomy needs to become a reality on the ground, in the Member States and in the regions. An official strategy drafted by public authorities and in consultation with national stakeholders is a very important starting point. It is most often opening the room for dialogue between different parts of the administration and of the stakeholders. It is the start of the acknowledgment for the need of coherence between policies to favour the development at national level. The development of national and regional strategies we are witnessing is thus very promising.
It is also necessary because different parts of Europe need to think themselves how they best fit in the bioeconomy. There are ‘bioeconomies’ – plural – and not a one-size fits all ‘bioeconomy’ that can be rolled out everywhere. Each and every country or region has its own diversity, and this is the basis and the richness of the bioeconomy.
Drafting a strategy is in itself not what will ensure the uptake of innovative solutions. But it is an absolutely necessary step to start gathering stakeholders, to start thinking about the strengths and weaknesses of a region, and about how it could position itself to drive the change”.
Thanks to the announced strategy, the bioeconomy in Italy takes another significant step forward. Certainly, there are still strong resistance from those who defend advantageous positions, from those who argue that the bioeconomy does not exist. But the Italian bioeconomy is alive and well.