ESPOO, Finland, May 22, 2018 (Press Release) -Äänekoski's current industrial infrastructure has the potential of becoming the global center of bioeconomy implementation. A new joint venture by ministries, businesses and the industry – named Plänet B – will create new business opportunities for the bioeconomy and circular economy, while at the same time support the Finnish Government's strategy of promoting bioeconomy.
The wood raw material utilized in Äänekoski generates a range of side streams and intermediate products, of which it is possible to produce valuable new products and services in the future. Innovative up-grading of the current side streams and intermediate products generated in Äänekoski today offers a number of significant new business opportunities. In addition to its abundant raw material reserves, the region offers significant advantages with regard to infrastructure, logistics, research and education.
The Plänet B project, launched jointly by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Regional Council of Central Finland, Ääneseudun Kehitys, Varma and Metsä Group, actively seeks to promote cooperation models in which companies across various industrial sectors cooperatively utilize the infrastructure and raw material base. The project is coordinated by the consulting company Vision Hunters.
“Äänekoski is perfectly positioned for this kind of project. It is natural that we aim to make this the most important location for the bioeconomy sector in this world. Companies that are on board from the very beginning have an amazing opportunity to take part in this development”, says Sari Åkerlund, Managing Director of Ääneseudun Kehitys Oy.
At the heart of Plänet B, Metsä Group's biotechnology factory
At present, Äänekoski is home to around a dozen industrial companies whose common denominator is wood-based products and energy. At the heart of this current business ecosystem is the world's largest softwood pulp mill, Metsä Group's Bioproduct mill.
“The future innovations are made in ecosystems. As a bioeconomy ecosystem, the Äänekoski site is a unique entity globally. For Metsä Group, interacting in networks, co-creation and being part of a competitive, developing ecosystem are at the core," comments Niklas von Weymarn, VP for Research at Metsä Group's Metsä Fibre business area.
"Bioeconomy and Clean Solutions" is one of the five focus areas set by the Finnish Government. The goal of the Finnish bioeconomy strategy is to raise the output of the bioeconomy activities from the €64 billion starting level (2014) to €100 billion by 2025 and generate 100,000 new jobs. In order to reach the goals of the bioeconomy strategy within the target period, the key projects will soon become more concrete in terms of real investment and industrial production.