Finland's first national bioeconomy strategy has been unveiled as a step towards a more sustainable economy and the attainment of a low-carbon society.
"The bioeconomy is an excellent opportunity for Finland to increase economic growth and wellbeing. Realising the national bioeconomy strategy demands not only bold political decisions but also a strong common intent and concrete actions. Recently made billion-euro investment decisions indicate that the sector has a strong desire to revamp itself, to grow, and to strengthen its position in the bioeconomy market," says Timo Jaatinen, Director General of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.
The bioeconomy generates new business and jobs sorely needed in Finland, both in the forest industry as well as across industries. The development of Finland's bioeconomy, and the ecosystem being built around it, however, requires that the existing forest industry is competitive, and that the business and investment environment supports the growth of the bioeconomy. The bioeconomy of the future will be built on existing processing and partly alongside it.
"Decision makers must actively promote the implementation of the bioeconomy in Finland and the EU, in order to create favourable operating conditions for the bioeconomy. Only a successful and competitive industry can finance the development of new business. Industry and new investments are attracted to places where cost competitiveness is in order and the operating environment is stable and predictable," says Jaatinen.
From the perspective of raw materials, Finland has excellent pre-requisites for growth, as our bioeconomy is based on forests. Finland must invest in forest management, the availability of wood raw material and in more versatile utilisation of wood biomass. The economic use of forests must be increased, as this would also result in environmental benefits.
Use of renewable raw materials must be increased in production and consumption
Bioeconomy products share the fact that they can be recycled and reused, factors that increasingly direct also consumer choices and that, for their part, determine the success of the bioeconomy. In our efforts to achieve a low-carbon society, the forest industry's products, based on a renewable raw material, help prevent climate change.
The forest industry already develops and manufactures new, entirely bio-based products that, according to the bioeconomy strategy, are expected to contribute half of the sector's export income by 2030. The new products complement the growing necessity for packaging and hygiene products as well as wood construction. Furthermore, new successful sectors are emerging from microfibrillated pulp, bio-plastics, composite materials, green chemicals and pharmaceutical industry raw materials as well as biofuels.
Over 30% of Finland's energy use is renewable energy and its share, too, can be increased through the sustainable use of forests. The forest industry already produces about two thirds of Finland's renewable energy.