BioeconomyMan in the laboratory

In Finland, bioeconomy refers to an economy that relies on renewable, biological natural resources in a resource-wise manner to produce food, energy, products and services. The most important renewable, biological resources in Finland are the biomass, i.e. the organic matter, in the forests, soil, fields, water systems and the sea, and fresh water. These are used as raw materials and derivates. Ecosystem services are part of the bioeconomy. The bioeconomy can also include the development and production of technologies, applications and services based on the sustainable exploitation of natural resources.

The bioeconomy is an exceptionally important sector in Finland. Finland is a bioeconomy country. In 2022, it created a value added of EUR 29 billion per year, accounting for 13 % of the value added generated in the national economy. 

Finland’s bioeconomy strategy’s “Sustainably towards higher value added” (updated in 2022) main objective is to increase the value added by the bioeconomy. The objective of the strategy is to accelerate the annual growth of the bioeconomy’s value added from 3% to 4%. The aim is to create economic growth and jobs based on sustainable solutions by producing the highest possible value added products and services.

Strategic focus areas of the bioeconomy strategy


Measures of the bioeconomy strategy

The aim of the Bioeconomy Strategy is to create economic growth and jobs based on sustainable solutions by producing products and services of the highest possible value added. The aim is also to increase the resource-efficient use and recycling of materials, to utilise side streams and to reduce dependence on non-renewable - especially fossil-based - raw materials.

Research plays a key role in identifying the growth and potential of the bioeconomy as well as in demonstrating new utilisation paths. Without the competence and experts created by national research, new knowledge on the bioeconomy generated globally could not be utilised.

The bioeconomy’s operating environment is determined by the national, EU-level and international operating environment and the related legal and policy environments. Bioeconomy investments require a fairly long payback period, and actors must be able to rely on the predictability of the legal and policy environment. 

Bioresources refer to all bio-based materials such as plants, animals, microbes and bio-based process side streams. Sustainable biomass production based on Finland’s abundant renewable resources and water systems provides a solid basis for bioeconomy value chains, the most important of which are currently agriculture, the food system, forestry, forest-based products and materials, wood construction, wood products and bioenergy, as well as food, energy and other commodities produced from water.

The industrial structure of the bioeconomy is increasingly cross-sectoral. The introduction of solutions will require the creation of new types of value chains across traditional sectoral boundaries. However, the increase in value added will also be examined by sector, which will facilitate monitoring with existing instruments. Measures related to increasing value added have been examined in the following sectors: forest, food, energy, water and water biomass, bioeconomy services, textiles and clothing industry and chemical industry. 

Non-paper on bioeconomy: Key Actions for Bioeconomy in the EU

Estonia, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Spain and Sweden have prepared a non-paper on bioeconomy on 16 February 2024.

Bio-based solutions and biotechnologies enable circular bioeconomy and together they can play a key role in meeting many global sustainability challenges. They have the ability to increase the EU’s competitiveness and to generate new business and jobs, thus contributing to the EU’s resilience, open strategic autonomy and rules-based trade. The EU must maintain its leading role in bioeconomy and transcend global competitiveness by investing heavily in strategically important areas such as biotechnology and biosecurity. It is crucial for the EU to rapidly unleash the full potential of its sustainable bioeconomy. 

Bioeconomy and biotechnology are areas where Europe can achieve global technological leadership by turning science into innovations and useful applications. 

To achieve this, bioeconomy and biotechnology should be an elementary part of the EU’s industrial policy and its instruments. Maximizing the GDP impact requires swift transition from producing bio-based raw materials for other continents to producing high value-added products in Europe. 

The importance of biotechnology in particular is growing. The EU should include biotechnology’s means in its bioeconomy development programmes and strengthen international cooperation in this area.

The EU bioeconomy strategy with RDI focus should also be challenged to be taken to the next level to provide solutions for industrial renewal. 

The Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy. Sustainably towards higher value added  

Non-paper – Key Actions for Bioeconomy in the EU    

Further information:

Ulla Palander

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