Environmental concerns in political bioeconomy discourses

D. Kleinschmit, B.J.M. Arts, Alexandru Giurca, Irmeli Mustalahti, Arnaud Sergent, H. Pülzl

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17 Citations (Scopus)


The term bioeconomy has been generated as a new discourse in the environmental policy arena. This paper raises three questions: (i) are environmental concerns integrated in the political discourses of bioeconomy and, if so, to what extent?, (ii) in which way is the environment framed in the political discourses of bioeconomy?, and (iii) are environmental concerns considered in the political discourses on forest-based bioeconomy? The theoretical framework of this paper builds on the cognitive approach of policy integration and on frame analysis. The empirical research design is a comparative qualitative analysis of five different political bioeconomy discourses in the EU and four different EU member states – Germany, Finland, France and the Netherlands – in general and in the forestry sector specifically. Results show a weak and mainly rhetorical integration of environmental concerns in political bioeconomy discourses. Three major environmental frames are identified: (i) The dominant frame of 'Environment benefitting from economic growth', (ii) the 'Environment as a challenge' and (iii) the less visible 'Environment as a standard' frame. In general, these frames address the environment mainly as a challenge or something that needs to be safeguarded with the help of the bioeconomy. With the exception of Finland, amongst the countries studied, forests plays only a minor role in bioeconomy discourses while environmental concerns in this strand of discussion are mainly focused on sustainability arguments in general.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-55
JournalInternational Forestry Review
Issue numberSupplement 1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

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    Kleinschmit, D., Arts, B. J. M., Giurca, A., Mustalahti, I., Sergent, A., & Pülzl, H. (2017). Environmental concerns in political bioeconomy discourses. International Forestry Review, 19(Supplement 1), 41-55.