Bio-Economy in Europe and SDGs: Development, Contribution and Trade-Offs, 2019-2022

The development of the bioeconomy is closely linked to national and international sustainability goals. As a major importer of agricultural and forestry products, the EU must also take into account the global impact of its own actions in policy-making. Conflicts of interest are foreseeable if expected developments in different areas are superimposed. Data sets and models that can capture these conflicting objectives still have various weaknesses. BEST uses two global macro models based on different data sets and theoretical backgrounds. They are supplemented by a detailed partial model that records production, trade and demand of individual product groups of the bioeconomy. Global land-use change and the effectiveness of land-use governance are also considered.

On this basis, the following questions are examined in detail:

  1. What potential development paths are there for the bioeconomy in the EU in the medium term (2030) with regard to the regional and global achievement of SDGs and expectations in different areas of use and in the long term (2050/60) against the background of Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) and climate objectives?
  2. What contributions and what conflicts of objectives for the achievement of the socio-economic and environmental SDGs (2, 6-9 and 12-15) in Europe and worldwide result from these development paths?
  3. What are the impacts of individual isolated national policies (including the EU) on the promotion and regulation of bioeconomy versus coordinated global mechanisms? What are the opportunities and limitations to steer the development of a sustainable bioeconomy that ensures the highest possible degree of target achievement? The project is divided into 5 work packages. Two workshops are planned for the exchange with national and international experts.

Work plan:

The work plan consists of 5 work packages:

  1. Development of bioeconomy (BE) scenarios: Literature research, quantification of different scenarios of the BE for the EU and globally for the years 2030 and 2050. The countries and country groups considered in the models are regarded specifically. Expert workshop on the scenarios.
  2. Global land-use change and effectiveness of land-use governance: Creation of a global data set on: landuse change, drivers, assessment of ecosystem services, governance indicators (partial use of an existing database at the ILR). Econometric analysis to estimate land supply functions taking into account national governance quality. Empirically based parameterization of social cost functions for the loss of vegetation dependent ecosystem services.
  3. Global modelling of the BE and the conflicting objectives of relevant SDGs: Extension and updating of the partial model in GINFORS and validation. Quantification of the long-term scenario baselines in the macro models. Analysis of the BE scenarios with regard to their effects on SDGs.
  4. Evaluation and synthesis of the results with regard to the SDGs and development of policy options: Evaluation and synthesis of results from AP1 to AP3. Development of policy options both for the EU and Germany and globally based on the evaluation. Quantitative analysis of the policy options for a more sustainable design of BE.
  5. Coordination, internal exchange and dissemination: An intensive exchange and coordination process takes place between the project partners. For dissemination, see the exploitation plan.

The project is financed by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research as part of its research on the bio-economy.

Staff at the ILR working on BEST

  • Rienne Wilts, PhD student, project realization
  • Wolfgang Britz, project lead


  • Christian Lutz, co-ordinator, Gesellschaft für Wirtschaftliche Strukturforschung, Braunschweig, Germany
  • Jan Börner, Economics of Sustainable Land Use and Bioeconomy, ILR, Bonn, Germany


The contribution of the Economic of Modeling of Agricultural System group in Bonn consists mainly of the development of long-term global scenarios with the regard to the bio-economy based on the application of the Computable General Equilibrium model CGEBOX and their detailed analysis. It draws on the G-RDEM module of CGEBox and extensions such as GTAP-AEZ.

Publications related to BEST

Britz, W. (2021): Estimating a global MAIDADS demand system considering demography, climate and norms, Bio-based and Applied Economics, in: online available 19 July 2021

Britz, W. (2021): Comparing Penalty Functions in Balancing and Dis-aggregating Social Accounting Matrices, Journal of Global Economic Analysis 6(1): 34-81

Wilts, R., Latka, C., Britz, W. (2021): Who is Most Vulnerable to Climate Change Induced Yield Changes? A Dynamic Long Run Household Analysis in Lower Income Countries, Climate Risk Management 33: 100330.

Further related Publications

Escobar, N., Britz, W. (2021): Metrics on the sustainability of region-specific bioplastics production, considering global land use change effects, Resources, Conservation and Recycling 167(April 2021): 105345.

Nong, D., Escobar, N., Britz, W., Börner, J. (2020): Long-term impacts of bio-based innovation in the chemical sector: a dynamic global perspective, Journal of Cleaner Production 272: 104656

Delzeit, R., Beach, R., Britz, W., Chateau, J., Freund, F., Lefevre, J., Schuenemann, F., Sulser, T., van Ruijven, B., Weitzel, M., Willenbockel, D., Wojtowicz, K. (2020): Linking Global CGE Models with Sectoral Models to Generate Baseline Scenarios: Approaches, Challenges, and Opportunities, Journal of Global Economic Analysis 5(1): 162-195.

Ho, M., Britz, W., Delzeit, R., Leblanc, F., Roson, R., Schuenemann, F., Weitzel, M. (2020): Modelling Consumption and Constructing Long-Term Baselines in Final Demand, Journal of Global Economic Analysis 5(1): 63-80

Britz, W., Roson, R. (2019): GTAP-RDEM: A GTAP-Based Recursive Dynamic CGE Model for Long-Term Baseline Generation and Analysis , Journal of Global Economic Analysis 4(1): 50-96

Britz, W., van der Mensbrugghe, D. (2018): CGEBox: A Flexible, Modular and Extendable Framework for CGE Analysis in GAMS, Journal of Global Economic Analysis 3(2): 106-176

Haddad, S., Britz, W., Boerner, J. (2019): Economic Impacts and Land Use Change from Increasing Demand for Forest Products in the European Bioeconomy: A General Equilibrium Based Sensitivity Analysis, Forests, 10(1) 52: 1-27

Escobar, N., Haddad, S., Börner, J., Britz, W. (2018): Land use mediated GHG emissions and spillovers from increased consumption of bioplastic, Environmental Research Letters 13(125005)

This work is funded by Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung

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