We Heard You! Listening Session Results for BioPreferred Program

As part of the 2018 BIO World Congress, on July 18, 2018, the BioPreferred Program hosted a Stakeholders' Workshop and Listening Session. During the listening session, BioPreferred asked participants to suggest ways to improve the program's support to businesses and industry involved in the manufacture and sales of biobased products. Three clear themes evolved:

  • Improve overall education and outreach to increase awareness of biobased products and BioPreferred;
  • Help in communicating the value of biobased products to various audiences; and,
  • Assist in increasing public/private partnerships across the entire supply chain and between the supply chain and the Federal government.

Based on your suggestions, and as funding and staffing allow, the BioPreferred Program will focus on these three important themes. Potential projects/next steps to support the three themes are listed below.

Theme: Improve Outreach and Education to various audiences to include consumers, suppliers, and federal government staff

  • Host webinars targeting specific technical audiences such as architects and engineers who make buying decisions both in the public and private sectors.
  • Increase media presence across various social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. For example, use social media to provide factoids from the USDA Economic Reports on the Economic Impacts of the Bioeconomy on the U.S. economy.
  • Place greater emphasis on reaching out to consumers to increase recognition of biobased products and the USDA Certified Biobased Product label.
  • Provide key resources to educators to increase student understanding of "biobased."
  • Amend BioPreferred staff business cards to contain links to the BioPreferred website and Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Theme: Better communicate the value of biobased products

  • Develop an infographic depicting value of biobased products through the entire supply chain from farmers, companies, all the way to consumers/ federal government personnel. Post it on the BioPreferred website and make available to biobased associations and partner groups.
  • Survey federal agency purchasers on feedback concerning value of biobased products. Reach out to all biobased stakeholder associations to obtain information on how they communicate the value of biobased products. Based on survey results and consults with associations and partner groups, develop tools that communicate the value and performance benefits of biobased products from a user's perspective.
  • Provide an easy way for product manufacturers and brand owners that use biobased ingredients in their products or sell biobased finished products to tell us their success stories. Publish the success stories on the BioPreferred website. (Success breeds success).
  • Ensure that the latest biobased products economic impact report to be released by the BioPreferred Program is widely distributed and marketed.

Theme: Develop Private-Public Partnerships

  • Conduct pilot projects substituting biobased products across a particular category (e.g. greases, lubricants, sorbents) for currently used products. Measure results and communicate through technical publications and social media.
  • Identify federal "centers of excellence" to demonstrate the use of six to ten biobased products for a specific discipline such as maintenance and repair, or vehicle and equipment maintenance. Communicate results.
  • Continue to target specific audiences for outreach such as architects and engineers. At these events, such as webinars, increase the participation of biobased associations and biobased vendors for maximum effect.
  • Consider planning another stakeholder meeting of the BioPreferred Program and biobased associations and partner groups to increase biobased product sales in the Federal government.
  • Increase the number of biobased products available for Federal government purchase and Federal-focused sales via working with ecommerce sites and BioPreferred vendors.

Please contact Kate Lewis at kate.lewis@dm.usda.gov if you have additional feedback or ideas as we work in partnership to advance the U.S. bioeconomy.