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Monitoring bioeconomy transitions with economic-environmental and innovation indicators: Addressing data gaps in the short term

: Jander, Wiebke; Wydra, Sven; Wackerbauer, Johann; Grundmann, Philipp; Piotrowski, Stephan

Fulltext urn:nbn:de:0011-n-5933189 (1.0 MByte PDF)
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Created on: 30.6.2020

Sustainability 12 (2020), No.11, Art. 4683, 18 pp.
ISSN: 2071-1050
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer ISI ()
bioeconomy monitoring; transition framework; surfactant industry; bio-based share; fossil resource substitution; diffusion of innovations

Monitoring bioeconomy transitions and their effects can be considered a Herculean task, as they cannot be easily captured using current economic statistics. Distinctions are rarely made between bio-based and non-bio-based products when official data is collected. However, production along bioeconomy supply chains and its implications for sustainability require measurement and assessment to enable considered policymaking. We propose a starting point for monitoring bioeconomy transitions by suggesting an adapted framework, relevant sectors, and indicators that can be observed with existing information and data from many alternative sources, assuming that official data collection methods will not be modified soon. Economic-environmental indicators and innovation indicators are derived for the German surfactant industry based on the premise that combined economic-environmental indicators can show actual developments and trade-offs, while innovation indicators can reveal whether a bioeconomy transition is likely in a sector. Methodological challenges are discussed and low-cost; high-benefit options for further data collection are recommended.