The Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC), which represents the private sector in the EU’s Bio-Based Industries (BBI) joint undertaking, has released a new overview of financial instruments available to support the development of the European bioeconomy.
The report on ‘Access to the EU financial instruments suitable for the implementation of large bio-based industry investments’ outlines a range of funding opportunities and explores the synergies between different instruments for co-financing bio-based projects. It covers the latest developments in financing European circular economy and bioeconomy sectors pledged by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Speaking at the 2017 Bioeconomy Investment Summit in Helsinki, Finland, where the report was launched, EIB’s Vice-President Alexander Stubb explained that the bank is now focusing its financing in four sectors: SMEs, infrastructure, innovation, as well as environment and climate. Due to the Junker plan, the bank has become more involved in smaller businesses with riskier investments. Although they do not offer grants, the EIB has at its disposal two financial instruments - EFSI and InnovFin, (also mentioned in the BIC report) and provides four main products (project loans, framework loans/co-financing, intermediary loans and the EIF). The European Investment Bank is clear in its mission to transform investing in the bioeconomy sector from a niche market to a norm.
Diagram 1. Showing how the EU financial instruments support project development, taken from BIC report.
Other financial instruments featured in the report are the BBI JU/Horizon 2020 grants, the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), and the recently announced Circular Bioeconomy Thematic Investment Platform (TIP), as well as funding sources such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The summit confirmed that the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides the right framework for developing the bioeconomy. Furthermore, this would be the perfect opportunity to transform and modernize the production and consumption model, enabling Europe to reach its economic ambitions. Not only that, but it would create the right climate for disruptive innovation, a much needed catalyst to drive any society forward and into the future.
Europe has a highly fragmented regulatory climate and this leads to further complexities and complications. Nevertheless, the EIB and the European Commission have committed to strengthening Europe’s circular economy and bioeconomy sectors by simplifying access to funding tools. The BIC report is instrumental for bioeconomy stakeholders seeking funding opportunities, and has enormous potential to unlocking the path to a vibrant European bioeconomy.
To read the BIC report click here.