The EU hopes to tap innovative markets with a Lead Markets Initiative, in which bio-based products have been identified as an important market.
The EU’s Lead Markets Initiative (LMI) is initially aimed at promoting six markets – electronic health services (‘eHealth’), protective textiles, sustainable construction, recycling, bio-based products and renewable energies – through creating favourable legal and regulatory frameworks and encouraging standardization and public procurement. It is hoped that this will increase the general conditions from which companies stand to benefit in the long run.Europe is currently well placed on the bio-based products market; it has well-established know-how and is a leader in technology and industry. However, perceived uncertainty about product properties and weak market transparency hinder the rapid take-up of products. Communication, standardization, labelling and certification could all contribute to overcoming these problems.The Lead Markets Initiative is focused on a competitive, demand-driven approach and avoids picking winners, meaning that the aforementioned emerging markets can build on both new and existing European technologies. Moreover, the concept chosen for LMI avoids favouring specific companies, which would be inconsistent with fair and open competition. The Lead Markets Initiative is part of the EU’s broad-based innovation strategy that highlights the need for a more coherent use of all available policy tools and instruments to support innovation in Europe. The German Biotechnology Industry Organisation (BIO Deutschland) welcomes the European Commission’s new Lead Markets Initiative. Dr. Peter Heinrich, Chairman of the Board of BIO Deutschland, said: “The EU’s Lead Markets Initiative is an important part of the active and targeted political support for Europe’s innovative small- and medium industry sector, something that is absolutely necessary. If available resources are used in a sensible way, consumers will soon benefit from the extraordinary contribution of innovative companies to progress in Europe.”