HELSINKI, Nov 19, 2014 (Press Release) - One year ago, the Finnish Forest Industries Federation launched a project that had the goal of defining a vision for the sector that extends up to the year 2025.The vision was crafted in cooperation with industry companies and stakeholders during 2014 and it was published today. The forest-based sector's vision crystallises in the pledge Evolving forest industry - prosperous bioeconomy.
The forest-based sector has provided the foundation for Finland's industrial development, exports and national prosperity for many decades. Today, the forest industry is investing and boldly building new business operations that are based on the bioeconomy. The industry uses renewable wood raw materials and its products help curb climate change.
"The forest-based sector will make the bioeconomy into a profitable business alongside existing operations. We are creating bioeconomic value chains across sectoral boundaries that enable a higher degree of value-added than before. It is a gateway to new markets and fresh growth," says Timo Jaatinen, Director General of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.
Pulp, paper and sawn timber have been top Finnish export products for decades. The value of forest sector exports has remained stable in recent years, even though the industry is going through structural change and demand for paper has contracted. In 2013, the forest-based sector accounted for some 20% of overall Finnish exports.
Finland has an abundance of forests to utilise. The bioeconomy thrives when timber markets function efficiently. There is growing demand for products and solutions, which utilise wood or wood constituents, on both existing and developing markets. The user base consists of actors like the construction and chemicals sectors, the food and packaging industries, furniture manufacturers and the design sector as well as many other industries that produce everyday and recreational goods for consumers.
Utilisation of renewable natural resources is at the core of the bioeconomy
Global phenomena are challenging all sectors and affect every person around the world. Climate change, competition for natural resources, population growth, urbanisation and digitalisation are all changing the way consumers and corporations act.
"The sustainability, responsibility and renewal of the forest-based sector's entire chain is an opportunity and a fantastic story for us. We believe that, by 2025, the bioeconomy will generate fresh economic growth and prosperity in Finland because it provides a solution for the challenges introduced by major phenomena like climate change," Jaatinen underlines.
A national bioeconomy strategy was approved this year and the bioeconomy has been highlighted as one of the spearheads for growth in the Finnish economy.
"The bioeconomy will create new firms and business activities as well as new types of value chains. For the general public, it offers the opportunity to choose a more sustainable way of living and consuming. For society, bioeconomy translates into prosperity, jobs as well as export and tax revenue.
The transition to a bioeconomy will not be automatic, however. A competitive operating environment and close cooperation, both within the industry and across sectoral boundaries, will be required for it to come about," says Jaatinen.