The circular bioeconomy

The European Commission defines the circular bioeconomy as “the production of renewable biological resources and the conversion of these resources and waste streams into value-added products such as food, feed, bio-based products and bioenergy. Sustainability and circularity must be at the centre of the bioeconomy if it is to be successful. These objectives will promote the renewal of our industry, the modernisation of our primary production systems and the protection of the environment and will help enhance biodiversity.” (The European Strategy for the Bioeconomy, European Commission, 2018).

Faithful to the circular production logic, the bioeconomy is based on three principles:

  • Territorial regeneration
  • Soil health
  • Creation of interconnections between different sectors


Implementing it requires systemic redesign to link health and soil and water quality, the production system and food safety.

The circular logic underpinning the bioeconomy must not be limited to recycling what is there, but must go further, towards redesigning production, consumption and disposal systems to decouple the development from the use of resources. Rather than replacing existing products with those derived from biomass, waste and by-products, the aim should instead be to offer products that present solutions to existing problems.

Cluster SPRING has been identified as one of the decisive players for the drafting of the Italian Bioeconomy Strategy, and was therefore called upon immediately by the Ministry of Education, University and Research to participate in drawing up the document. It also took part in the subsequent update in 2019 and in drafting the Strategy Implementation Action Plan (2020-2050), published in its final version in January 2021.

Since 2017 the Cluster has been participating with other stakeholders in the National Coordination Group for the Bioeconomy, which is active on the National Committee for Biosecurity, Biotechnology and Life Sciences (CNBBSV), at the Office of the Prime Minister.

In particular, the Coordination Group includes representatives from the Ministry of Food and Forestry Agricultural Policies, the Ministry of University and Research, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Ecological Transition. The group also includes representatives of the Permanent Conference of Regions and Autonomous Provinces, the Committee of Regions and Autonomous Provinces for Economic Development, the Committee of Regions and Autonomous Provinces for Agricultural Policies, the Territorial Cohesion Agency, the Association for the Development of Industry in Southern Italy (SVIMEZ), the National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) and the three national clusters, CLAN, BIG and SPRING.

Glossary Publications