The Nordic countries can create new jobs, reduce waste and combat climate change by tapping into the potential of bioeconomy. The most fertile ground for innovations and growth lies where companies, industries, science and resource flows interact and open new possibilities.
The Nordic countries are looking into bioeconomy to find new, sustainable growth opportunities. According to a study by Gaia, the total turnover of the bioeconomy sector in the Nordic region is approximately 184 billion euros, which accounts for 10 percent of the total economy of the area.
Bioeconomy means a resource-efficient circular economy based on renewable energy, products and materials as well as sustainable use of land and water. It helps combat climate change, reduce waste and create new jobs. Bioeconomy offers diverse business opportunities, and the cases covered in the study were versatile. To name a few examples, specialty chemicals for the cosmetics industry can be produced from shrimp shell waste, and ecotourism services can be targeted to very focused global customer segments.
The key sectors that make up bioeconomy are agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, forestry, food industry, forest industry, bioenergy, and biofuels. Forest industry and food industry are the largest bioeconomy sectors, which indicates the economic importance of intermediate and end products in the field.
Furthermore, fields like building and construction, chemicals, textiles, waste management, and services offer additional potential for the bioeconomy sector. A greater focus on research and innovation could bring forth new biomass-based products and services that could accelerate the development of the Nordic bioeconomy.
The biggest innovation and growth potential seems to lie in the crosscutting nature of bioeconomy.
According to the study, interesting crosscutting growth areas in the Nordic region include e.g. bio-based chemicals, biomaterials, biofuels and bioenergy, biorefineries, resource efficiency, industrial symbiosis and services.
The raw materials used in bioeconomy are local but many of the products and technologies have a global market. The Nordic countries are known as knowledge-intensive and clean, which gives them a strong ground to build on when entering the global market.
The report found that market access is in fact the key to successful bioeconomy innovations, and end-users should therefore be engaged in the development process of new products and services at an early stage. It is also important to introduce investors to the business networks to help them to recognise the commercial potential of bioeconomy concepts. Furthermore, it is vital to ensure that bioeconomy innovations are sustainable and use valuable bioresources efficiently.
“Successful products and services have already emerged and there is a lot of potential. Now it is just a question of taking action,” says Business Director Tiina Pursula from Gaia.
The study was conducted by Gaia for Nordic Innovation. Its goal was to identify the challenges and growth potential of the Nordic bioeconomy sector.
- Download the report Creating value from bioresources – Innovation in Nordic Bioeconomy
- Tiina Pursula, Business Director, Gaia Consulting Oy, tel. +358 40 514 9507, email: firstname.lastname@example.org