Encouraging brand owners to switch to bio-based in highly innovative ecosystems 

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Why this project?

The European bioeconomy currently has a realisable value of EUR 2.3 trillion and employs 8.2% of the labour force in the EU. However, this sector must be further boosted by creating a shift from research and innovation to a systemic approach for the effective roll out and implementation of innovations – only then can its economic, social and environmentally related potential be exploited to its fullest. 

This sector can drastically reduce Europe’s dependence on fossil fuel products, help the EU reach its climate goal and contribute to environmentally friendly and green growth. This developing sector is expected to grow quickly, creating new markets and jobs.    

Brand owners are crucial stakeholders in implementing the bio-based economy at the European, national and regional/local level.  They can accelerate the expansion of bio-based value chains and products. On the one hand, brand owners integrate with natural resource and technology suppliers and, on the other hand, they are connected to the market through their interactions with retail and other distribution channels to the consumer. However, brand owners are careful with investments due to perceived risks and uncertain factors as well as the lack of adequate support from the relevant innovation ecosystems.

Therefore, the BIOSWITCH project wants to motivate and support brand owners in making the switch to a bio-based approach (‘switch to bio-based’): from fossil fuels to biomass-based products and applications. The project is based on a systematic approach that will not just include brand owners but also (among others) consumers, public administrations and the bio-based industry.

Bioswitch outline

Project approach

BIOSWITCH is a European Horizon 2020 project funded by call H2020-BBI-JT2019 established by the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), a EUR 3.7 billion public-private partnership between the EU and the Bio-Based Industries Consortium.

The objectives of this project are:

  • To create a network of brand owners based on the contacts from the four cluster organisations in the consortium (in addition to Flanders’ FOOD, also CLIC Innovation, Agro Business Park and Corporacion Tecnologica de Andalucia) and those from the Bio-Based Industry Consortium industry and market expert group
  • To map out and analyse the brand owners' needs, motivations and incentives to make the transition to a bio-based approach through surveys, case studies, workshops and co-creation sessions. This analysis will result in the development of a ‘Bioswitch Toolbox’, providing strategies for this transition and communication materials that are validated with case studies and selective testing.
  • To roll out the BIOSWITCH toolbox at the European and regional level with an instruction manual/guide for brand owners, workshops, training programs and a consumer outreach campaign
  • To further promote the BIOSWITCH toolbox with strategic communication to a wide range of stakeholders, thus promoting interaction among biomass suppliers, industries, brand owners, public administrations and consumers.

Target group and expected results

BIOSWITCH is in the first place oriented towards brand owners from various sectors (chemical, forestry, food and agro) that are in varying stages of transition to a bio-based approach. BIOSWITCH will mainly reach brand owners who are not familiar with a bio-based approach, pique their interest and encourage their commitment.

The project's main goal is the BIOSWITCH toolbox, which will offer brand owners coaching and support in their individual transition course to a bio-based approach. The toolbox will include, among others, the following tools: various communication materials; an IT tool for scenario development and comparison based on environment, economic and social aspects; tools for efficient development of value chains based on individual coaching and a matching service.  An innovative element here is the ‘bio-based transition level self-assessment’ that brand owners can use in such a selective manner that they gain access to the precise tools that correspond to their needs.

Project partners

The execution of BIOSWITCH is in the hands of a European consortium consisting of Flanders’ FOOD, CLIC Innovation (coordinator), Corporacion Tecnologia de Andalucia, VTT, Agro Business Park, Institute of Technology Tralee, B.T.G. Biomass Technology Group, Sustainable Innovations Europe.

Flanders' FOOD logo
Logo Click Innovation
Logo Corporacion Tecnologia de Andalucia
Logo VTT
Logo Agro Business Park
Logo Institute of technology Tralee
Logo Biomass Technology Group
Logo sustainable-innovations


Emma Sidgwick
innovation manager