The Foundation for Research of Natural Resources in Finland endeavors to advance the well-being of humanity, which is only possible through the sustainable and responsible utilization of natural resources. In providing funding for research, we focus especially on new, innovative research ideas targeting at breakthroughs in sustainable development.


Some concepts that appear frequently on our website are explained in the following glossary.

Sustainable development refers to development that satisfies the current needs without depriving future generations of their opportunities to satisfy their own demands. The three basic elements of sustainable development are ecological, economic and socio-cultural sustainability. The goals of sustainable development aim at people learning how to live in harmony with nature and with each other.

Climate-neutral economy seeks to establish a balance between emissions and carbon sinks.

Circular economy strives to maximize the circulation of products, components and materials and retain the added value within the economy for as long as possible. Circular economy aims at minimal or zero waste generation during production and consumption.

Bio-economy. The forest sector is the base of Finnish bio-economy. Collaboration with other sectors makes Finland a pioneer in bio-economy. Bio-masses are being used for the production of not only wood products and paper, but also fabric fibers, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, functional foods, plastics, cosmetics, smart packaging and bio-oils. Altogether 80% of the area of Finland is covered by forests. Forest management aims to ensure that more wood is grown than exploited. Renewable natural resources are used by taking the economic, social and ecological sustainability into consideration.

Mineral economy advances the utilization and further refining of mineral raw materials as well as the creation of solutions to meet the emerging material demands. Finland has abundant and varied reserves of basic metals and many rare metals, and also state-of-the-art technologies for use throughout the entire chain of production and recycling.

Resource-efficiency refers to the efficient use of energy, water, raw materials, materials and land areas. The essential aim is to ensure the sufficiency and sustainable use of natural resources globally.

Technological breakthroughs. Innovations play a key role in responding to the challenges of sustainable development. An innovation refers to a new, or substantially improved, economically feasible product, process or service. Innovations related to sustainable development include innovations that will create new added value and growth for the companies developing or commercializing them, as well as potential solutions to the social challenges in terms of the goals of sustainable development. Innovations contribute to the generation of new, increasingly sustainable technologies, services and business models.

Sustainable use of natural resources. Sustainable use is typically linked with renewable natural resources and recycling. Sustainability requires that renewable natural resources be used within the limits set by their capacity to renew. Non-renewable natural resources shall be used sparingly and recycled efficiently. In other words, natural resources can be utilized, but the utilization must be sustainable.