Bio-economy can be defined as an economy where renewable biomasses are produced and converted into value-added materials, chemicals, foods, feeds, fuels and energy: therefore, it represents one valid, reliable way to transition to equitable, sustainable, post fossil-carbon societies. For this reason, it is increasingly gaining attention by scientists and academics worldwide, as is supported by this special issue developed within the Journal of Cleaner Production and presented in this editorial article. This Virtual Special Issue (VSI) was designed to highlight the importance of academic research in documenting the multiple greening effects that bio-economy has in multiple societal sectors. Therefore, the editors are confident that it will help to create the platform to exchange and to enhance knowledge on the evolving bio-economy. In this context, this editorial was designed to provide an overview of the papers contained in this special issue and to highlight their contributions to the bio-economy within five main research themes: biomass, biomaterials and bioenergy; agriculture; forestry; production and packaging of foods and feeds; and miscellaneous applications. Based upon the analysis of this VSI's papers, the authors found that there is an urgent need for research on: meta-studies of cross-country/regional interventions, to assess which interventions are more effective; more effective harmonisation solutions of methodological approaches for bio-economy assessments; and finally more interdisciplinary collaboration among technical and social scientists to identify and address the relevant questions for the bio-economy and to exchange and involve academics with all actors of the “innovation pipeline” of the bio-economy.
- Comprehensive review