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Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2705;

Sustainability Performance of National Bio-Economies

Center for Development Research, University of Bonn, D-53113 Bonn, Germany
Institute for Ecological Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business, 1020 Vienna, Austria
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 June 2018 / Revised: 24 July 2018 / Accepted: 27 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
PDF [1387 KB, uploaded 1 August 2018]


An increasing number of countries develop bio-economy strategies to promote a stronger reliance on the efficient use of renewable biological resources in order to meet multiple sustainability challenges. At the global scale, however, bio-economies are diverse, with sectors such as agriculture, forestry, energy, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, as well as science and education. In this study, we developed a typology of bio-economies based on country-specific characteristics, and describe five different bio-economy types with varying degrees of importance in the primary and the high-tech sector. We also matched the bio-economy types against the foci of their bio-economy strategies and evaluated their sustainability performance. Overall, high-tech bio-economies seem to be more diversified in terms of their policy strategies while the policies of those relying on the primary sector are focused on bioenergy and high-tech industries. In terms of sustainability performance, indicators suggest that diversified high-tech economies have experienced a slight sustainability improvement, especially in terms of resource consumption. Footprints remain, however, at the highest levels compared to all other bio-economy types with large amounts of resources and raw materials being imported from other countries. These results highlight the necessity of developed high-tech bio-economies to further decrease their environmental footprint domestically and internationally, and the importance of biotechnology innovation transfer after critical and comprehensive sustainability assessments. View Full-Text
Keywords: bioeconomy; green economy; sustainable development; bioproductivity; high-tech bioeconomy; knowledge-based bioeconomy; primary sector; typology; cluster analysis bioeconomy; green economy; sustainable development; bioproductivity; high-tech bioeconomy; knowledge-based bioeconomy; primary sector; typology; cluster analysis

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Biber-Freudenberger, L.; Basukala, A.K.; Bruckner, M.; Börner, J. Sustainability Performance of National Bio-Economies. Sustainability 2018, 10, 2705.

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