Accelerating the transition to circular bioeconomy in Slovenia using digital tools
On the 31st of March 2022 we held an online workshop “Accelerating the transition to a circular bioeconomy in Slovenia using digital tools”. The workshop was organised within the framework of the Interreg GoDanubio project. 14 participants gained valuable insights into the topics of the circular bioeconomy and an understanding of how digital tools can be used to accelerate its development in Slovenia.
The event was divided into three key parts:
- three speakers presented their circular bioeconomy projects and challenges in their companies or organisations
- a presentation of the Value Chain Generator digital tool
- a discussion on digital tools for creating new circular value chains.
Ms. Mateja Dermastia, Director of Anteja ECG, gave an opening speech to introduce the broader context of the event, particularly the opportunities and challenges of the circular bioeconomy in Slovenia and Europe. She emphasized that the Danube macro-region can support Slovenia in its efforts to develop a circular bioeconomy.
After that, three representatives of companies and organisations, operating in Slovenia, presented their bioeconomy projects and highlighted some of the barriers they face.
Ms. Nina Barbara Križnik, Head of Agriculture at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia and the Chamber of Agricultural and Food Enterprises, presented best circular practices of the Slovenian agricultural and food processing industry. She highlighted the fact that new technologies can solve many problems and enhance the transition to a circular bioeconomy, such as ensuring the competitiveness of agricultural enterprises, efficient use of resources and energy, safety and quality management, health care control, process optimisation, etc.
Dr. Maja Berden Zrimec, researcher at Algen d.o.o., presented the outstanding applicability of algae in various industries and their suitability in circular systems.
Mr. Nino Novinec, Oracle’s Cloud Platform Customers representative, presented Oracle’s sustainability and circular projects. Oracle Slovenia helps Slovenian technology companies to develop digital tools in order to accelerate the transition to a circular bioeconomy.
These presentations were followed by a short moderated discussion where participants listed the main challenges for the transition to a circular bioeconomy in Slovenia, among others:
- low awareness about the competitive advantage if companies engage in the circular bioeconomy
- lack of cross-sectoral integration
- lack of infrastructure for the full circularity of raw materials
- small businesses lack the capacity to engage in the circular bioeconomy
- lack of a stimulating environment for the development of the bioeconomy
- lack of new, circular value chains.
Mr. Jon Goriup Dermastia presented the digital tool Value Chain Generator, which was designed in 2021 within the framework of the project Interreg AlpLinkBioEco and developed by Anteja ECG and the Swiss Institute of Complex Systems, School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg (HES-SO//FR HEIA-FR). Value Chain Generator is a software solution that creates new circular value chains and identifies new business opportunities. It also addresses some of the challenges raised by the workshop participants.
A discussion followed on the benefits of such digital tools for the Slovenian bioeconomy and participants agreed that the main added values of such a tool are:
- in addition to businesses, the Value Chain Generator can benefit policy makers
- finding new customers and suppliers
- linking different sectors to each other
- availability of new data and new knowledge to companies
- compiling high quality and responsive companies’ contacts.
At the end of the event, Ms. Mateja Dermastia presented the next steps to accelerate the transition to a circular bioeconomy and expressed the possibility of repeating this workshop in the coming months.