Linking the bioeconomy to the 2030 sustainable development agenda: Can SDG indicators be used to monitor progress towards a sustainable bioeconomy?

N Biotechnol. 2021 Mar 25;61:40-49. doi: 10.1016/j.nbt.2020.10.010. Epub 2020 Nov 2.


Bioeconomy has been proposed as a strategy to overcome many global and national challenges, from climate action to income diversification in rural areas. Therefore, the ultimate goal is not to measure the bioeconomy per se, but its sustainability. One way to ensure sustainability of bioeconomy strategies would be by linking its reporting with internationally-agreed targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. Although there are case studies, scientific articles and technical reports in the literature of bioeconomy and other related strategies (e.g. green economy, circular economy) and their links to SDGs, the complete picture on this heterogeneous literature is missing. The objective of this work is to lay out the opportunities to couple monitoring and evaluation of bioeconomy and bioeconomy-related concepts to aid the countries to report their status on attaining SDGs. This study is the first to review and harmonize the results through meta-analysis of the available literature and technical reports on linking bioeconomy and SDGs. The results suggest that bioeconomy monitoring and evaluation can provide opportunities in terms of SDG reporting, in all three dimensions of sustainability. Bioeconomy strategies and practices were found to have strong potential in coupled reporting with several SDGs related to economic development, access to basic services, and sustainable consumption, followed by biodiversity conservation, waste re-use, equality, gender equality, inclusiveness and international cooperation.

Keywords: Bioeconomy; Biomass; Bioproducts; Monitoring and evaluation; Network analysis; Sustainable development goals.

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology / economics*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / economics*
  • Humans
  • Sustainable Development / economics*