The bioeconomy accounted for 16% of the output of the Finnish national economy and 12% of the value added in 2017. These figures have remained unchanged throughout this decade. Finland’s bioeconomy is strongly based on the forest sector, which makes up nearly 40% of the total output and value added. Contrary to recent years, employment in the bioeconomy sectors slightly increased in 2017.
According to preliminary data, the aggregate output of the bioeconomy sectors amounted to EUR 67.7 billion in 2017, and the value added totalled EUR 23.5 billion. Both of these indicators nominally increased by 5% from the year before, but, in real terms, the output and value added remained at the previous year’s level.
– Of the output, 62% was generated by the two main sectors in our bioeconomy: the forest sector and the food sector. The forest sector alone represented 38% of the total output, and this share has been relatively stable in recent years. With reference to value added, the proportion of the food and forest sectors increased to more than half, or 52% in 2017, says Martti Aarne, principal specialist at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
According the Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy, drawn up in 2014, the objective is to push our bioeconomy output up to EUR 100 billion by 2025. To reach this goal, output needs to increase by 5% per year from now on.
Bioeconomy investments EUR 5.7 billion in 2017
Investments in the bioeconomy are currently at a relatively high level, creating opportunities for growth and diversification in the bioeconomy. In 2017, bioeconomy investments totalled EUR 5.7 billion, an increase of nearly one fifth from the previous five-year period in real terms. Investments in the food sector amounted to EUR 1.7 billion, of which agriculture accounted for two thirds. It was followed by the forest sector and renewable energy generation, each comprising EUR 1.3 billion.
More people employed in the bioeconomy
The falling trend in bioeconomy employment came to a halt in 2017. A total of 315 000 people were employed in bioeconomy sectors, a marginal increase of 1% from the preceding year. That corresponded to 12% of the total labour force in Finland. The employment improved especially in wood construction and various bioeconomy services. Agriculture employed the largest number of people (81 500), an increase of 1% compared to 2016.
– The output, value added and investments in the Finnish bioeconomy have significantly increased in the 2010s. However, this has not had a positive impact on employment figures, Martti Aarne says.
In 2017, some 11 100 fewer people were employed in the bioeconomy than in 2010.
Annual bioeconomy monitoring
Luke compiles most of the bioeconomy statistics in Finland. The annual development of the bioeconomy is monitored using indicators of the national accounts, produced by Statistics Finland. The two organisations are jointly in charge of developing the methodology and substance of Finnish bioeconomy calculations.