Due to population growth, urbanization and the rising middle class, the world will need 45% more energy, 50% more food and 30% more water by 2030. On the other hand, the world has less virgin natural resources than in the past. The only long-term solution is the sustainable use of natural resources.
The sustainable use of natural resources means the circulation of raw materials, sustainable use of biomass, energy and material efficiency, and use of renewable energy. Finnish companies have recognised the increasing opportunities for circular economy solutions and understood that saving the world can be high-value business!
In the field of circular economy, Finland can rely on its traditionally strong forest industry. Finland is the most heavily forested country in the EU and the forest sector has historically played a major role in the Finnish economy. As a result, Finland has accumulated expertise in forestry and the industrial manufacturing of forest products that is unique in Europe. The traditional forest industry now forms a solid platform for the development of innovative bioproducts.
Finland has world-class know-how in developing innovative biobased products and technologies. The industrial exploitation of wood-based biomass is in transformation, creating compelling new business opportunities and possibilities. Wood is now used as a raw material for diverse value-added products and revolutionary biomaterial innovations. Everything that is made out of oil today can be made out of wood tomorrow – and in Finland we are already doing it!
Modern Finnish pulp mills are versatile biorefinery hubs that offer attractive ecosystems and investment opportunities for developing new products and technologies. Today’s emerging biobased forest industry is geared to producing biofuels and other value-added products based on wood.
Finland invests heavily in bioeconomy research and development. Customers from around the world are already making good use of the services provided by laboratories, demonstration and piloting facilities in Finland.
Finland’s booming startup scene has also energized the bio-based sector. Research-based spin-offs and startups now constitute a core element in the business ecosystem of a Finnish biorefinery. The piloting and demonstration facilities help startups and established companies to accelerate the transition from basic research to commercialization.
New products such as biocomposites and biofuels have been launched in recent years. Wood cellulose, lignin and bioactive components can offer new product opportunities for companies that are currently using other raw material sources, while also creating completely new business possibilities.
With a dynamic ecosystem, booming startup scene and new, truly innovative products, Finland’s biobased products and circular economy solutions provide interesting opportunities for international investors. Companies like Itochu have become shareholders in Finland’s growing biobased industries, setting up their own operations in existing biorefineries or making equity investments in startups.