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Multi-Method Approach

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Value chain disruptions are now very commonplace due to current and recent events and they seem to be getting worse. Therefore, active risk management for value chains is essential. Value chains should not grow organically, but should be actively managed. This is why the Danube Alliance focuses on understanding, analysing and resilience promotion of selected (bioeconomic) value chains in the Danube region to support SMEs’ inclusion into more sustainable and resilient value chains. These goals shall be achieved by using a multi-method approach (s. figure above), based on Accenture’s 3-steps to safeguard supply chains*.

 

Step 1 – Sense: In the beginning, a certain use case for a value chain with potential in the Danube region will be selected. It is important then to get a feel for the selected value chain and to understand the entire chain. By involving experts from industry or research, main features and also social and ecological aspects will be identified and modelled in a collaborative manner.

 

Step 2 – Analyse & Predict: Next, in-depth analysis of the value chain is necessary to identify possible neuralgic points and to pave the way for specific measures to increase resilience. For this purpose, refining and enriching the existing value chain model with further information and data along the value chain (e.g. key actors, costs, harvesting volume, storage capacities, production outputs, prices etc.) is crucial to better assess the effects of disruptive factors and corresponding countermeasures. The data-based model is the basis for the simulation of value chain input-output-scenarios.

 

Step 3 – Act & Adapt: In order to make the value chain more resilient in the long term, the data-based value chain scenarios need to be discussed with regional stakeholders in relevant, or interested, Danube sub-regions and jointly reflected upon regional framework conditions and needs. This is required to develop need-based implementation strategies and to create digital solutions together with regional SMEs in order to improve a resilient value chain development.

 

*Source:

3 steps to safeguard the supply chain https://www.accenture.com/us-en/blogs/accenture-utilities-blog/safeguarding-supply-chain

Collaborative Platform

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To support SMEs, the Danube Alliance will act as an open collaborative platform for stakeholders from the Danube region (s. figure above).
The established partner network will include regional development entities, clusters, business associations and more. The platform will incorporate needs of the Danube region and incubate value-chain project ideas with significant potential in terms of resilience and circularity. Moreover, capacity building will be promoted by the Danube Alliance consortium through coaching and skill development towards modelling resilient value chains as well as creating digital business solutions that can help increase value chain resilience. Also, the Danube Alliance as a collaboration platform will support the creation of tailor-made partnerships and consortia for further (cross-regional) value chain related projects, and identify adequate funding options for the project initiation. Besides, the Danube Alliance platform shall create visibility and knowledge transfer with regard to resilient value chain activities and involved actors of the Danube region. It will share relevant research insights and project findings that are associated with resilient and circular value chain development. The goal is to expand the Danube Alliance partner network and to raise awareness on value chain resilience and corresponding methodologies and good practices at a macro-regional level.

The Miscanthus Case

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Miscanthus (elephant grass) was selected by the Danube Alliance as the first use case for the analysis and modeling of a value chain. It was initiated through cooperation with Advanced Ecologics GmbH, a German company that is pursuing the goal of establishing a sustainable biogenic circular economy in the Vidin region in northwestern Bulgaria with the help of a transport and storage system and a central biomass processing plant. Among other things, residual materials from corn straw and the cultivation of miscanthus serve as biomass.

Miscanthus is a reed grass that has a number of characteristics that make it interesting for bioeconomic value chains due to its versatility. It shows high adaptability in terms of location, temperature and water availability, it contributes to humus formation and it is a renewable, perennial, low-cost material with high yields.

It appears particularly suitable for replacing fossil fuels with biogenic raw materials. In addition, miscanthus can also be used to establish a biogenic recycling economy. As a building material, it can be used in pressed boards for insulation on the one hand, but also as a renewable additive to cement in concrete production. Here, too, the good yield and negative CO2 balance play an important role. Under favorable conditions, tons of dry matter can be obtained per hectare. This can produce enough building material for a single-family house and at the same time remove 30 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. In addition to building material, miscanthus is also suitable as bark mulchlivestock beddingheating material, and for use in paper and plastics production.*

To better understand and analyse the entire value chain, according to the Danube Alliance multi-method approach, the consortium invited miscanthus experts to gain a deeper understanding of the plant and potential uses. Social and environmental factors were also included as part of the knowledge building process. By gathering relevant data for the value chain model, a simulation for input-output scenarios in the value chain model was built within the consortium. Now, according to the third step “Act & Adapt” of the Danube Alliance approach, a trip to Vidin is planned in order to meet relevant regional stakeholders, and to present and discuss the value chain model. The goal is to develop implementation strategies and also to involve regional SMEs to create smart solutions that help increase the resilience of a Miscanthus value chain that starts in the Vidin area and can be expanded across the Danube region and Europe.

 

*Sources:

Lewandowski et al. (2000): The modelled productivity of Miscanthus x giganteus (GREEF et DEU) in Ireland: In: Industrial Crops and Products 12(2), 97-109.

Kahle, et al (1999): Effects of Miscanthus x giganteus cultivation on chemical and physical soil properties. In: Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 162(1), 27-32.

Brosse et al. (2012): Miscanthus: A fast growing crop for biofuels and chemicals production. In: Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining 6, 580-592.

Emmerling & Pude (2017): Introducing Miscanthus to the greening measures of the EU Common Agricultural Policy. In: GCB Bioenergy, 9(2), 274-279.

News & Studies

Impacts and Potentials of the Ukraine Crisis on Supply Chains Development for the Danube Region
Working Paper

Danube Region’s value chains have a significant bioeconomic potential. Countries from the Danube Region could provide substitute supplies to the loss of imports from Ukraine for several agrifood products.


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This report was produced within the framework of the Danube Alliance, the flagship initiative of Priority Area 8 of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region.

The report was published in July 2022 by Anteja ECG and VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH.

Contact

Team member
Benedikt Sedlmayr
+49 89 5108963-043
benedikt.sedlmayr@vdivde-it.de
Team member
Hannah Herzig
+49 711 658 355-16
hannah.herzig@vdivde-it.de
Supported by
Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Tourismus Baden Württemberg
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Supported by
Staatsministerium Baden-Württemberg
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The Danube Alliance Consortium
BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH
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The Danube Alliance Consortium
STEINBEIS EUROPA ZENTRUM
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The Danube Alliance Consortium
Hochschule Reutlingen
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The Danube Alliance Consortium
VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH
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