Portugal’s green growth commitment

In document A forest-based circular bioeconomy for southern Europe: visions, opportunities and challenges (Page 49-52)

2. Forests and forestry in southern European bioeconomy strategies

2.4. Portugal’s green growth commitment

Portugal does not have a bioeconomy strat-egy, but it is developing a long-term develop-ment model that first took shape in the Green Growth Commitment that was adopted in 2014, and was led by the Portuguese Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy with over 100 organisations that participated in a significant consultation process (Governo de Portugal 2015).

Drivers and focus,

including other technology trends

The Green Growth Commitment is an agenda for long-term environmental sustainability, growth and employment incorporating cir-cular economy and bioeconomy approaches and targets across sectors including the con-struction, agriculture, forestry and waste management industries. The main drivers are: climate change and its related challeng-es (biodiversity, water, etc.) in the context of increased demands for food, energy and water; the mismatch between the value and the management of natural resources; and the need to create green jobs through green growth, building on existing strengths. The Innovation and digital economy

No clear guidance is provided on how to better structure the research and innovation system, although there are mentions of technological and social innovation, industrial symbioses, training in entrepreneurship and demand side innovation through, for example, stand-ardisation. Similarly, digitalisation is solely addressed as an opportunity for increasing agronomic techniques and productivity, al-though there is one mention to smart manu-facturing or industry 4.0.

Role of forests

Forests are seen in the Italian strategy as a relevant carbon reservoir, a high biodiversity ecosystem and as the source of biomass. The balance among them and the new opportu-nities and challenges that the bioeconomy presents are not discussed. Sustainability, for example, is linked to certification.

Lack of forest management, the negative im-pacts of climate change, a high dependency on imported wood (and the associated risks of illegal timber), low competitiveness and the lack of a business mentality in the local forest sector are seen as major hurdles. In fact, the furniture and paper sectors generate 420 000 jobs and a turnover of EUR 60 billion. How-ever, 80 % of the wood demand is satisfied through imports. Local production is mar-ginal and oriented to low-value products and energy. The weak integration of Italian forests into the industrial value chains is a major chal-lenge but also an opportunity. However, no orientations is given for the future develop-ment of forest industries other than a desired

targets in relation to carbon emissions, mate-rial intensity, condition of water bodies, use of waste in the economy, biodiversity conserva-tion and natural capital accounting. Reduc-ing the risk of soil degradation is a specific target for the agricultural and forest sectors.

When it comes to using biomass, it provides no guidance on how resource efficiency will be achieved (e.g. cascade use, hierarchy of uses and biomass fractionation, etc.). Social issues are not directly addressed although it emphasises public participation through a green coalition that a consultative body open to civil society representatives.

Innovation and digital economy

Research and innovation is one of the cata-lysers for green growth, along with green tax reform, public procurement, access to fund-ing, and social awareness and participation.

Research and development priorities are cross-sectoral, focusing on developing and upscaling technological and business model eco-innovations. The Green Growth Com-mitment does not identify links with the digi-tal economy or with nanotechnologies.

Green Growth Commitment has 14 objec-tives and 114 actions addressing stimulus for green sectors, the efficient use of resources, the energy transition towards renewables and biodiversity improvement. Some interesting objectives for a circular bioeconomy are:

• Increasing the productivity of materials (from EUR 1.14 of GDP per kg of materials consumed in 2013 to EUR 1.17 in 2020 and 1.72 in 2030).

• Increasing the use of waste and by-products as raw materials in the economy (from 56 % in 2012 to 68 % in 2020 and 86 % in 2030).

• Increasing the ratio of building renovations to new buildings (from 10.3 % in 2013 to 17 % in 2020 and 23 % in 2030).

• Increase the share of renewable energy (from 25.7 % of final energy consumption in 2013 to 31 % in 2020 and 40 % in 2030) and reduce CO2 emissions (from 87.8 tonnes of CO2 in 2012 to 68.0-72.0 tonnes of CO2 in 2020 and 52.7-61.5 tonnes of CO2 in 2030).

• Valorise biodiversity (from 81 species and 46 habitats with favourable conservation sta-tus per bio-geographic region in 2012, to 96 species and 53 habitats in 2030, while ensur-ing that in 2020 all existensur-ing species and habitat retain or improve their conservation status).

Sustainability and social issues

Green economy principles (resource efficien-cy, reusing, recycling) and reducing carbon and material intensity are key elements of the Green Growth Commitment. Contrary to other strategies, it does have quantifiable

Forests are also relevant in relation to qual-ity and quantqual-ity, biodiversqual-ity conservation, green tourism, and to healthy cities where the role of forests as green infrastructure is being promoted. Additional targets in reference to forest industries address improving the use of waste streams, energy efficiency and self-dependency through bioenergy. Crosscutting actions such as improved national cadastre and tax reform, also target sustainable for-est management, which would benefit from resources collected through green taxes on carbon, vehicles, plastic bags and waste. Fi-nally, forest fires are recognised as the most relevant threat to forests in the green econo-my. Proposed actions include a 17 % increase in fire suppression budgets and enforcing the Plano Nacional de Defensa da Floresta contra Incêndios.

Role of forests

Forests and forests-based industries repre-sent 2.1 % of GDP and 10 % of national ex-ports. The Green Growth Commitment also recognises the social, cultural and ecological value of forests, acknowledging the existence of different social perceptions and attitudes towards forests and forestry. Targets in rela-tion to forests include:

a. support for creating innovative, low carbon, forest-based products and placing on them on the market;

b. improving forest management and produc-tivity;

c. increasing forest certification; and

d. making joint management more dynamic.

in relation to agro-food systems. These are described as:

• the need for new varieties resilient to envi-ronmental stresses;

• increasing efficiency in the use of water and fertilizer;

• reducing negative environmental externali-ties; and

• reducing waste all along the agro-food chains.

In relation to waste, the strategy prioritises re-use and recycling and advocates for cas-cade use. The positive environmental and social impacts of the bioeconomy are taken for granted, though the importance of build-ing social support is highlighted. The Spanish strategy recommends using a tailored com-munication strategy, and it recommends cre-ating a stakeholder panel to engage multiple actors through existing bioeconomy-related online platforms.

Innovation, research, training and education

Authored by the State Secretary of Research, the Spanish bioeconomy strategy emphasises research and innovation as well as existing financial means. It advocates for increased cooperation between research, industry and society, but does not explain how to go about creating such relationships. It also proposes specific measures to create training materi-als at multiple levels, to increase capacity and skills within new bio-technologies.

2.5. Spanish Strategy

In document A forest-based circular bioeconomy for southern Europe: visions, opportunities and challenges (Page 49-52)