The successful proposal will support the deployment of business-to-consumers communication by producers and traders of bio-based products to enable responsible production and consumption in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal, the EU bioeconomy strategy and the European Climate Pact. Project outcomes will contribute to improve the sustainability performance and competitiveness in the bio-based systems and to the establishment of the innovative governance models notably to achieve better-informed decision-making processes, social engagement and innovation. Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
- Transparency of bio-based products and information to consumers and public authorities are provided through effective and robust business-to-consumers labelling on product traceability, quality, carbon footprint, biodiversity impacts and other environmental footprints.
- Consumers, industry and public bodies are enabled to switch towards socially and environmentally responsible behaviour within their choices in a transparent and inclusive way.
- Improved understanding of metrics on value generated per unit of biological resources.
The project is expected to advance the role and impact of bio-based innovation to accelerate the transition from a linear fossil-based economy, which leads to overuse and depletion of natural resources, into resource-efficient and circular bio-based systems operating within safe planetary boundaries. Improved and informed governance and social innovation contribute to reducing resource consumption and result in an increased innovation capacity of all actors. Informed consumers may pursue the objectives of circular economy, asking for efficiency and inclusiveness of services provided through less resources and goods, changing consumption patterns (e.g. reducing meat consumption), preventing food waste and separating bio-waste from other waste streams so that it can be (partly) converted to bio-based materials.
Proposals will focus on consumer-oriented labelling options for industrial bio-based products with low environmental footprint, in terms of resources, processes and materials used. Industrial bio-based products do not include food/feed, biofuels, bioenergy and cultural/recreation sectors. However, relevant initiatives in the field of consumer-focussed labelling of sustainability of bio-based products, arising from EU policies in the bioeconomy sectors, should be taken into account.
- Select a range of bio-based systems where value chains can be monitored in their environmental and social impacts (benefits and trade-offs) from the primary materials trade to the final products.
- Develop pre- and co-normative research to design or update standards and labels for business-to-consumers communication of climate-neutrality and environmental impacts/benefits/trade-offs and performances of materials and products. Environmental impacts should include carbon footprint, climate neutrality, biodiversity impacts and any other environmental footprint relevant for the specific bio-based value chain and final products. Metrics on value generated, in the final product, per unit of biological feedstock used, including bio-waste, will be assessed.
- Develop guidelines on the design of labels for bio- based products that include the perspectives of public authorities (national, regional, local) and consumers.
- Assess existing/develop new monitoring system and indicators of effectiveness and robustness of existing business-to-consumers labels and certification schemes.
- Demonstrate/test effectiveness of existing (voluntary) business-to-consumers labels and certification schemes and monitor robustness. This action includes the identification of labels and certification schemes and testing of the monitoring system and indicators assessed/developed.
- Assess costs and benefits from the adoption of business-to-consumers labels and certification schemes in selected bio-based systems.
- Assess and develop smart options for the consumers in the digital age (e.g. mobile applications) aiming at sound understanding and practical use in support of and complying with the current relevant legal framework.
- Analyse social measures to enable consumers to switch towards socially and environmentally responsible behaviour within their choices (e.g. regulatory measures, corporate responsibility initiatives, education), ensuring inclusiveness of all actors (NGOs, civil society etc) and taking into account differences between gender, age and socio-economic background.
The proposals should seek complementarities with related actions on bio-based innovation and market measures, e.g. synergies with the food systems if appropriate or any other sector, and ensure inclusiveness and engagement of all actors along bio-based value chains.
15 February 2022