Bioeconomy is an economy which utilizes the biological natural resources and turns them into food, energy, and other products and services. It is characterized by the use of clean technologies which save the environment and by efficient recycling of materials. Bioeconomy makes us less dependent on fossil fuels, prevents the impoverishment of ecosystems and promotes economic development. Finland’s rise to become one of the world’s most prosperous countries is based on our ability to utilize renewable natural resources. Finland has top-notch expertise in sustainable forest bioeconomy. Some 80 per cent of our land area is covered with forest, which we manage so well that more timber grows every year than we utilize. We also use waste and side streams efficiently. Finland has strong know-how in technology, construction, energy, chemistry, food and health sciences. Innovation, cooperation and combined technologies in these fields make Finland a real pioneer in bioeconomy.
Bioenergy is a key element of bioeconomy, which plays a central role in the shift towards truly sustainable society. Although bioenergy (=energy derived from biological sources) is the oldest known source of consumer energy, it is not outdated – bioenergy can be considered as one essential element in the future sustainable energy system. It has great potential in helping mitigate climate change, meet the growing global demand for energy in a sustainable way and promote local energy self-sufficiency. Its future possibilities are vast, but seizing them also poses several new challenges: new competences are required for example in learning how to supply and utilize different biomasses cost-effectively, create winning solutions for different markets or design bioenergy solutions for large urban areas. The business environment is also changing faster than ever, and new operating models and networks are needed to succeed in the increasingly complex environment.