Outi Suomi, Head of Bio and Circular Finland Program, has returned to the position after parental leave, and is pleased that the program has contributed to Finland’s pioneering position in the global circular economy.
The Bio and Circular Finland program was launched in January 2019 and is now in its final year. The program has funded ambitious R&D&I projects worth more than €150 million. The need for circular economy is growing rapidly: in addition to legislation and push from investors, the economy is strongly driven by push from consumers.
"The program has been able to support companies with different operating models during the challenging pandemic situation. We would like to give many thanks to companies for having been open-minded and having tried out new ways of, for example, networking internationally,” shares Outi Suomi.
“The program has also been skillfully managed by taking advantage of the exceptional times in the best possible way. Via remote connections, Finnish circular economy companies have been able to establish direct first contact with big brands. The companies and research organizations in the program’s network have continued to collaborate, and they have found new effective ways of cooperation,” says Suomi.
According to Suomi, the program has contributed to the national goal of making Finland a pioneer in the circular economy. The role of Finland in international cooperation is growing, and Nordic cooperation has intensified. The program has also served as a platform for Business Finland’s new circular economy measures. During the program, circular economy has become a key tool for promoting sustainable development in areas such as low-carbon construction and the innovative conversion of the forest industry side streams into new products. The program’s thematic priorities, which include packaging, plastics, and textiles, show that the sector is investing in new solutions as a result of excellent innovation development.
The main themes of the program include the plastics recycling, bio-based raw materials, and the development of new packaging materials and wood-based products. The main target markets of the program are Europe, Japan, and the USA . The global network of Team Finland will seek significant market opportunities for Finnish companies in these target countries and help companies seize opportunities.
According to Outi Suomi, impressive, internationally competitive ecosystems have been built in the field of bioeconomy and circular economy. These funded entities are creating new value and contributing to international value chains. The value of side streams is increased and products are made more recyclable.
Sustainable development is at the core of Business Finland’s strategy. Sustainable development is also strongly linked to Business Finland’s mission of a Carbon Neutral Finland, for example.
The challenge posed by Business Finland for leading Finnish companies focuses on being a global forerunner. Out of the Finnish leading companies, Outi Suomi mentions Neste, which is developing sustainable and globally scalable raw material and technology solutions for transport fuels and for the production of chemicals and polymers. Another example is the ExpandFibre program of the leading companies Fortum and Metsä Group, which develops new fiber-based products for the consumer market that reduce the products’ carbon footprint.
“The courage of Finnish companies is growing and they are getting better at cooperating with major international players. The Bio and Circular Finland program has opened up new perspectives on the significance of circular economy and how it promotes the competitiveness of a sustainable economy,” says Outi Suomi.
Tel. +358 50 5727 530
outi.suomi (at) businessfinland.fi