There is no real difference between bioeconomy and cleantech. Cleantech companies produce solutions that help make bioeconomy a reality.
In Finland, bioeconomy has traditionally been associated solely with biomass. At Ympäristöosaajat2025, a seminar held in April to determine the kinds of environmental professionals that will be needed in 2025, the Director of Sitra’s Landmarks Programme, Eeva Hellström, stressed that nutrients, water and land, rather than biomass, are at the core of bioeconomy.
In Finland, the importance of biomass is understandably highlighted, as it represents one of the most important sources of renewable energy. Fuels and biomaterials, in addition to energy, can be produced from biomass.
Wood is a very significant renewable natural resource in Finland. In bioeconomy, the diverse properties of wood are at the forefront even more than before. For example, by using a combination of wood and fibre in various materials new products can be created.
Interest in locally produced food and energy has grown at a rapid pace in recent years. At the same time, people are beginning to pay more attention to how efficiently natural resources, i.e. land and water, are being used.
One factor receiving less attention is the impact of bioeconomy on regional development. Regionally focussed bioeconomy decentralises production and supports regional employment. With bioeconomy, for example food and energy can be produced directly for local communities. Winning concepts and extensively developed products can be launched in international markets.
According to the European Commission’s figures, the annual turnover of bioeconomy in the EU has already reached EUR 2,000 billion. The establishment of bioeconomy is only in the beginning stages, however, and it is strongly focussed on biomass and fuels. Bioeconomy cannot solely be based on bulk materials and end products; it must instead take the entire cycle, from raw material flows to processes and products, into account.