We defend the role of regions as drivers of the transition to the forest bioeconomy

15 April 2021

The Basque Country defends the role of regions as drivers of the transition to the forest bioeconomy

A webinar entitled ‘Biobased Solutions in Public Procurement: Are They the Way Forward to Support a Circular Bioeconomy?’ was held today and included discussions on the role of public procurement as a powerful tool to approach sustainable development and accelerate the market adoption of more sustainable products and services. Public procurement is considered a key factor in the transition to the bioeconomy, and therefore more and more public agencies are committing to it and valuing aspects beyond simply economic criteria. Organised by the Bioregions Facility in cooperation with the Basque Country, North Karelia (Finland) and North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany), the event was part of a series of webinars that Bioregions is promoting on innovative approaches to the forest-based circular bioeconomy.

Leire Barañano, general manager of NEIKER, represented the Basque Government and defended the need for regional action to develop the European bioeconomy. In her talk, Barañano introduced the Bioregions Facility, which was created precisely to promote cooperation between regions and implement a forest-based bioeconomy. As the NEIKER director explained in her talk, this is an initiative coordinated by the European Forest Institute (EFI) whose three founding regions are the Basque Country, North Karelia and North Rhine-Westphalia. The initiative’s functions notably include knowledge exchange and cooperation in terms of innovation, institutions, infrastructure and investments with activities that support the creation of networks, company discovery, access to funding, learning about policies and raising awareness.

In addition to Barañano, Lidia Capparelli, head of Green Public Procurement at Consip (Italy’s central procurement agency) since 2007 and member of the European Consultative Group on Green Public Procurement; Martin Scherpenisse, senior specialist on procurement and bidding processes (Zeeland, Netherlands); and Oriana Romano, head of the Water Governance and Circular Economy Unit for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also spoke. These three internationally-recognised experts shared their wealth of innovative experience in green public procurement, underscoring that it is a powerful driver that local governments and public institutions can use to influence the market.

The results of the Europe-wide survey recently conducted by the Bioregions Facility to identify the obstacles, opportunities and success stories of biobased purchasing in Europe were also presented at the event.

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