Bio-economy refers to economic activity related to the production, use, refining and marketing of renewable natural resources as well as the consumption of products based on renewable natural resources. The forests, fields and waters in Finland are inexhaustible sources of raw materials for use by various industries in compliance with the principles of sustainable development.
Bio-economy is a broad concept comprising, for example, forest, chemical, fish, food and pharmaceutical industries. These fields play an essential role in Finnish business life, and their significance for our national economy is vital.
Bio-economy is based on clean technologies that facilitate the efficient use and recycling of natural resources and nutrients, while also supporting biodiversity. Bio-based products will decrease the environmental load through the reduced use of, for example, fossil fuels, coal and plastic. Production relies on the use of renewable materials available as natural resources, and the development and launch of related innovations and technologies. The aim is to advance the use of renewable natural resources, rather than that of non-renewable resources.
In Finland, wood is the most important renewable natural resource for industrial use. Wood is extensively used in the field of construction, and wood fibers are increasingly used as the raw material for environmentally friendly fabrics produced for textile and other industries. Bioenergy and biochemical sectors are constantly engaged in developing new, innovative products by combining wood and wood fiber with other materials.
Professor Anne Toppinen, Director of Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, University of Helsinki, talks about bio-economy.