Development of the circular bioeconomy: Drivers and indicators

Maximilian Kardung, Kutay Cingiz, Ortwin Costenoble, Roel Delahaye, Wim Heijman, Marko Lovrić, Myrna van Leeuwen, Robert M’barek, Hans van Meijl, Stephan Piotrowski, Tévécia Ronzon, Johannes Sauer, David Verhoog, Pieter Johannes Verkerk, Maria Vrachioli, Justus H.H. Wesseler, Benz Xinqi Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


The EU’s 2018 Bioeconomy Strategy Update and the European Green Deal recently confirmed that the bioeconomy is high on the political agenda in Europe. Here, we propose a conceptual analysis framework for quantifying and analyzing the development of the EU bioeconomy. The bioeconomy has several related concepts (e.g., bio-based economy, green economy, and circular economy) and there are clear synergies between these concepts, especially between the bioeconomy and circular economy concepts. Analyzing the driving factors provides important information for monitoring activities. We first derive the scope of the bioeconomy framework in terms of bioeconomy sectors and products to be involved, the needed geographical coverage and resolution, and time period. Furthermore, we outline a set of indicators linked to the objectives of the EU’s bioeconomy strategy. In our framework, measuring developments will, in particular, focus on the bio-based sectors within the bioeconomy as biomass and food production is already monitored. The selected indicators commit to the EU Bioeconomy Strategy objectives and conform with findings from previous studies and stakeholder consultation. Additionally, several new indicators have been suggested and they are related to measuring the impact of changes in supply, demand drivers, resource availability, and policies on sustainability goals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number413
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Bioeconomy
  • Indicators
  • Monitoring


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