Finland is taking a leading role in the bioeconomy
by Jussi Manninen, Executive Vice President, Solutions for natural resources and environment, VTT
The Finnish Government has chosen the bioeconomy as a future growth area of the Finnish economy. The national bioeconomy strategy, published in May 2014, sets ambitious growth targets for the future bioeconomy. The bioeconomy is already an important part of Finland’s economy due to our strong biomass processing industries, and the technology industries serving the whole ecosystem from biomass harvesting to processing. We have an excellent combination of strengths: raw material is plentiful, we have industrial traditions and ecosystems, and very knowledgeable people. The country’s renewable resources can substitute a significant amount of domestic use of fossil resources and provide solutions and products for the rest of the world.
THE BIOECONOMY relies on natural resources, but we must resist taking a pure supply-driven approach. Too often we justify the bioeconomy with the argument that there are plenty of renewable resources that need to be used. From the forest management point of view this is a valid point – in order to maximize the yield and carbon sink, we need to manage the forests and remove trees at different stages. But how do we ensure that there is a demand for all that harvested biomass? How do we maximize the economic, environmental and social impact from the limited renewable resources? These are the questions that we are only starting to address comprehensively.
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