In 2019, the bioeconomy accounted for 13% of the total value added of the Finnish economy and 10% of investments. The forest sector maintained its position as the most important sector in the bioeconomy, although the food sector and chemical industry grew the most.
The proportion of the bioeconomy from the total output and value added of the national economy has remained nearly unchanged over the past ten years. In 2019, the output of the bioeconomy was EUR 74.4 billion, comprising 16% of the total output of the national economy. Compared with the previous year, the output volume increased by 1%.
“The bioeconomy covered EUR 26 billion (13%) of value added. The volume of value added in the bioeconomy increased by 2% from the previous year”, says Tiina Sauvula-Seppälä from the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
The forest sector continues to be the most significant bioeconomy sector. In 2019, the forest sector accounted for 35% of the total value added of the bioeconomy. Compared with the previous year, the forest sector’s value added volume increased by 1%.
The forest sector was followed by the food sector and construction, each of which accounted for roughly 17% of the total value added of the bioeconomy. Compared with the previous year, the food sector’s value added volume increased by 6% and that of construction decreased by 4%. Other growing bioeconomy sectors were and chemical industry and bioeconomy services. At present, each of these account for less than 10% of the total value added of the bioeconomy.
Role of investments decreased from peak years
Bioeconomy investments covered 10% of total investments in all sectors. Compared with 2018, bioeconomy investments decreased by 3%. In the food sector, investments increased by 6%, covering one third of total bioeconomy investments. In the forest sector, investments remained relatively unchanged from the previous year, accounting for one quarter of bioeconomy investments. Investments in renewable energy decreased by 15%.
Employment in the bioeconomy improved slightly
Last year, sectors in the bioeconomy employed 301,800 people in Finland, corresponding to 11% of the total labour force. The number of people employed in the bioeconomy decreased by 1,500 from the previous year, even though the total labour force increased by 44,000 people. The number of people employed in the bioeconomy increased the most in nature tourism and recreation, as well as in forestry, by a total of 2,800 people. Correspondingly, the number of employees decreased the most in the food sector by 1,800 people.
Agriculture remained the largest employer in the bioeconomy, with its 64,300 people employed, even though the number of people employed has decreased by 21,900 people from 2010. During the same period, the number of people employed in construction, nature tourism and recreation has increased by 13,800 people.
The goal set in the Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy is to create 100,000 new jobs in the bioeconomy by 2025. In the light of statistics, this goal may be difficult to reach. The number of people employed in the bioeconomy has decreased by 14,900 people compared with the beginning of the 2010s. Furthermore, the strategic goal of increasing the bioeconomy output to EUR 100 billion requires an increase of more than 5% in the output volume during the next few years. Between 2018 and 2019, the output volume increased by 1%.