Thursday, 15 May 2014 21:42

Implementation of the bioeconomy requires a competitive forest industry


Finland’s first national bioeconomy strategy has been unveiled. Finland’s first national bioeconomy strategy is a step towards a more sustainable economy and the attainment of a low-carbon society. The forest industry plays a central role in the bioeconomy, as the industry’s entire operations are based on products manufactured from renewable and recyclable natural resources.

“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.

Just under 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 70% of Finland’s renewable energy.

Additional Info

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation is the lobbying organisation for forest industry companies in Finland. It promotes the forest industry’s competitiveness and profitability by strengthening the industry’s operating conditions and positive image both in Finland and abroad. The Finnish Forest Industries Federation’s members are manufacturers of pulp, paper and paperboard. Our members from the wood products industry include most sawmill and board companies as well as further processors of wood.

The forest industry employs almost 160,000 Finns directly and indirectly. The forest industry offers revenue and vitality to rural areas also, and it accounts for a fifth of Finland’s export income.

For further information please contact:
Timo Jaatinen, Director General, Finnish Forest Industries Federation, tel. +358 (0) 9 132 6600

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