People and Leaders

Why is Finland a Bioeconomy Champion?

Exclusive Interview with the Permanent Secretary of the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry in Finland, Jaana Husu-Kallio, on the Finnish bioeconomy and why Finland is a bioeconomic champion.

Could you give some key numbers regarding the Finnish bioeconomy?

Ambitious growth targets have been set for the bioeconomy in the Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy.

By 2025, the bioeconomy output will increase to EUR 100 billion (EUR 60 billion in 2011) and the number of people employed in it will grow by 100,000.

The bioeconomy strategy seeks to reduce the dependency on fossil natural resources, to prevent the impoverishment of ecosystems and to promote economic development and create new jobs in compliance with the principles of sustainable development.

The Finnish bioeconomy is monitored using five indicators: output, value added, investments, employment and exports.

The main source is the annual national accounts, produced by Statistics Finland.

What is the recipe and principles behind Finland’s bioeconomical success story?

Bioeconomy is a great opportunity for Finland, because we have lots of renewable natural resources (the forth biggest amount per capita at the global level), we have a strong industrial tradition (mainly forest industries) based on the sustainable use of renewable natural resources, we have skillful workers and employees, we invest in R&D activities, we have a tradition to develop and use new technologies (e.g. cleantech) in harvesting the biomass and in its processing it as well as in the logistics.

  • Chemical Recycling Europe, Sustainability on Hold, Lyondellbasell, Ikea, Covestro

  • Industry 4.0, PEF, Perstorp, Timber and Chemical Recycling

  • Ikea Timber, US Recycled Content, EU Bio Ind, Mitsui Finance, HP, Covestro, Canada SUP, Turkey Waste


Are there any other countries that inspire Finland when it comes to the bio-economy?

Finland collaborates with the Scandinavian countries in bioeconomy. Blue bioeconomy is one the most important sectors in that.

Can you explain why Finland is more progressive than other EU countries?

Finland is a very dynamic society. We were early to prepare our bioeconomy strategy also because we needed to find new ideas to enhance sustainable economic growth after the financial crisis in the Euro-zone in 2008-2009.

The forest sector has a major role in the Finnish bioeconomy, as well as in our exports.

From the forest sector’s point of view, new bio-based value chains have lots of business potential.

At the same time ecosystem services like nature tourism, recreation, forests as carbon sinks create new business opportunities.

Sustainable forest management is 150 years old in Finland.

We have modern forest legislation and efficient administration including extension services providing timely advise to forest owners.

2/3 of Finlands forest area is owned by common people. Alltogether there are some 600 000 forest owners out of the total population of 5.5 mill. people.

What are the private and public mechanisms to finance the startups active in the bio-economy?

There are several funders with varying funding profiles in Finland.

The bioeconomy-website (www.biotalous.fi) is running a database on the financiers profiles to support the startups, SME’s, micro-entrepreneurs etc. to find an appropriate funding instrument.

What is the position of the finish government regarding bioplastics?

The target to reduce the use of plastics in general and replace them with other materials is included in the Government program.

The Ministry of the Environment is preparing a Plastics road-map and action plan to tackle the problem including bioplastics.

Jaana Husu-Kallio
Jaana Husu-Kallio
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