Finland’s highly innovative bioeconomy companies offer attractive opportunities for international partnerships and investments. What is the secret behind Finland becoming the home of innovative bio-based products? Here are the top five reasons in a nutshell:
1. Globally leading forest-based sector
Finland is Europe’s most heavily forested country with 86% of its land area covered by forest. Forests are our green gold. For centuries, Finland has lived off its forests and this has created a strong competence base. The entire bioeconomy value chain is in place in Finland.
2. Pure Northern nature provides high-quality raw materials
The pure Finnish nature – clean air, soil and water – produces pure flora. High-quality biomass develops in slowly growing trees. Plants, especially berries, thrive in the Finnish landscape dominated by forests and lakes.
Finnish raw materials are perfectly suited for high-added-value fiber products. In addition, wood and plant-based extracts can be used as organic raw materials in various healthcare and cosmetic products.
The good news is that our first-class raw materials are not running out. The annual forest use in Finland is 60 million cubic metres, with room for the additional use of 20-25 million cubic metres thanks to sustainable smart forestry practices.
3. Growing number of innovative SMEs leading the way
Finnish companies are full of great ideas. According to the 2017 Bloomberg Innovation Index, Finland is the 5th most innovative nation in the world. Are you already familiar, for example, with these sustainable solutions:
• PAPTIC is replacing oil-based plastics with a revolutionary wood fiber material that combines the renewability and recyclability of paper with the versatility of plastics.
• SULAPAC has created the first fully biodegradable premium eco-package in the world, which was recently awarded as “The best green packaging solution” in LUXE PACK MONACO.
• Woodio has reinvented wood and introduces it as a more flexible material with new uses such as washbasins.
• Arctic Biomaterials produces biodegradable plastic solutions for the demanding applications in the medical and technical industries.
• Lumir has developed a sprayed acoustical coating that improves acoustics by reducing reverberation.
• Wall+ provides unique wall composite panels of hard wood, which are 100% reusable, lightweight and safe.
• Spinnova manufactures completely recyclable and cost competitive fibre yarn directly from market pulp. The process is kind to the environment and requires no extra chemical treatment of the pulp fibre.
• Infinited Fiber Company has developed a process technology that turns cotton-rich textile waste into new fibers for the textile industry. Infinited Fiber can be recycled infinitely without decreasing the quality of the fiber.
4. Top-level research and bio industry cooperate smoothly
Thanks to the long history of the Finnish forest industry, including long-term biomass research and utilization of wood fiber, bioeconomy innovations have a strong tradition in Finland. We have a close and fruitful cooperation between top-level research institutes and industry.
5. Strong governmental support
In 2014, the Finnish government launched a Bioeconomy Strategy with the aim of almost doubling the value of the bioeconomy by the year 2025. One of the means to achieve this growth is to bring together SMEs that are developing novel, high-added-value products from Finnish biomass.
Currently, about twenty Finnish companies belong to the Innovative Bioproducts program, and we see clear synergies in having these top-notch innovators gathered together.
About the author: Pia Qvintus is currently Program Director of Innovative Bioproducts, an export program managed by the governmental organization Finpro.
Watch the video on Finnish bio-based innovation: