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Issue paper

How to mainstream sustainability and circularity into the bioeconomy? A compendium of bioeconomy good practices and policies

In its 2020 communiqué, the International Advisory Council on Global Bioeconomy has urged to strengthen good practices and policies to advance the global bioeconomy.

The transition from a fossil-based economy to a bioeconomy happens at three levels: technological, organizational and social. In particular, agri-food systems are key to achieve a shift to sustainable and circular production and consumption patterns, since they occupy the biggest share of the bioeconomy from an economic, value-added perspective as well as having potential for discovery and innovation.

This Compendium outlines 250 sources of good practices and policies. It covers the entire continuum of economic sectors that have a stake in biological knowledge and resources. The Compendium, therefore, highlights the wide range of aspects that are included in the concept of the bioeconomy. Being an inherently multisectoral process that involves potential synergies and trade-offs among different sustainability objectives, the implementation of bioeconomy strategies presents greater challenges than activities that are focused on a single sector. The report also shows how good practices and policies contribute to the translation of bioeconomy strategies into coordinated actions for the achievement of local priorities and sustainability goals, while also addressing global issues.

Overall, the review identifies a knowledge gap: Assessments do not always indicate if practices and policies have enough evidence of impact to be recommended as models that contribute to sustainability objectives of the bioeconomy. To address this, a context-specific approach described in Chapter 5, provides support for countries to make evidence-based decisions on policies and investments for the bioeconomy. The approach helps to identify good practices and policies ex-ante, which can help achieve common sustainability objectives of bioeconomy strategies that were presented in the 2019 FAO report, Towards sustainable bioeconomy - Lessons learned from case studies. Taken together, this Compendium and the 2019 report, provide practical guidelines and resources that can support decision-makers and stakeholders in bioeconomy systems to make progress towards reaching sustainable outcomes

Policy Theme