Sustainability, resilience, and competitiveness: Assobiotec pushes for biosolutions

In Brussels, the first European high-level summit on biosolutions was held, where the European Manifesto was presented to overcome regulatory barriers that hinder the diffusion of biotech processes in the agri-food and industrial sectors.

Updating regulations on the use of engineered microorganisms and novel foods; modernizing legislation regulating nutritional and health claims on labels and regarding the classification of food crops; but also provisions and regulations that take into account biosolutions. These are some of the points presented and endorsed by Assobiotec, the National Association of Federchimica for the development of biotechnologies, in the Manifesto “How Biosolutions can strengthen Europe’s sustainability, resilience, and competitiveness”. The manifesto was presented in Brussels during the first European high-level Summit on biosolutions, organized by the European Biosolution Coalition, of which Assobiotec is a part. The statements of the associations endorse it.

From research in biological science to biosolution, a background

During the last decade, progress within research and innovation in biological sciences and technology has created untapped potential for biosolutions to help the world and Europe meet some of the greatest challenges of our time. When it comes to sustainable food systems, biodiversity, environment, and climate change, the world faces major questions and challenges. Biosolutions hold some of the most important answers.

But today, biosolutions are regulated by various regulatory regimes in the EU. These sets of rules have one thing in common: They are not designed with biosolutions in mind. For example, industrial biosolutions and biomanufacturing are subject to regulations aimed at regulating fossil-based substances. This results in outdated regulatory requirements that do not support innovative biosolutions and the acceleration of the green transition.

The system for regulatory renewal is far slower than in other regions. Europe is the slowest in the world in terms of approval of new biological solutions, despite much of the expertise and companies being founded in Europe.

As a result, the EU is lagging behind its global peers, losing both tax revenue and access to the innovative products of European origin needed to deliver on the EU’s green ambitions.

The points of the green agenda presented in Brussels

Biosolutions can deliver on the green agenda worldwide, but outdated EU regulation stands in the way of realizing the full potential of biosolutions, and furthermore, it weakens the competitiveness of Europe and European biosolutions companies. Leading industry organizations from 6 European countries want to change in Brussels, gathering stakeholders from EU institutions, member states, and industry to discuss how to move forward fast for Europe not to fall behind. The manifesto offers both principles and concrete proposals for a new green and bio-based regulatory regime and suggestions for regulatory changes needed to boost the biosolutions industry and bring green solutions to the European market much faster.

In summary, as indicated by the press release, the points presented and endorsed by Assobiotec at the European Summit on biosolutions are:

  • Updating regulations on the use of engineered microorganisms and for novel food;
  • Specific procedures for the approval of bio-based plant protection products and for microorganisms used in biostimulant production processes;
  • Modernizing legislation regulating nutritional and health claims on labels and that relating to the classification of food crops;
  • Transitional provisions to the packaging and packaging waste regulation to allow for the growth of the bio-based plastics market, as well as ensuring that the ecodesign regulation for sustainable products takes biosolutions into account.

Sgaravatti (Assobiotec): solid proposals for better regulating biosolutions

“Today we bring to the attention of European decision-makers a series of concrete proposals for better regulation of biosolutions,” explains Elena Sgaravatti, Vice President of Assobiotec – Federchimica. “Europe and Italy have an extremely penalizing regulatory system and speed of action, evidently not fully understanding the extraordinary value that the adoption of these products, even alongside current solutions, can represent for the sustainability, resilience, and competitiveness of countries. What our Association wants to strongly reaffirm today – as has also been done on other occasions thanks to synergistic work with EuropaBio – is the urgency of concrete interventions, also at the community level, for our bio-based companies. We want to create a system, bring a common voice, and make all our industrial expertise available to institutions. The goal: to collaborate and quickly finalize the necessary actions to accelerate the virtuous path that transforms a good idea into an innovative product. An instrumental step towards achieving the sustainability goals that we are all obliged to reach by 2030.”

Director of the European Biosolutions Coalition, Sofie Carsten Nielsen says:

“In just ten years, Europe can be free from polluting fossil materials, secure clean drinking water for everyone on the continent, and produce enough food for a growing world population in a sustainable way. All it requires is unlocking the untapped potential in biosolutions, and our recommendations are designed to do just that. We hope that the European Commission and decision makers will act fast and ensure companies access to the European market so we can finally embark on the bio revolution that we all need”.