The bioeconomy society needs renewable natural resources and their sustainable utilization. Wood products business cluster provides an enormous opportunity with its health-promoting and safe-in-use products, overwhelming sustainability in terms of raw materials, and low carbon footprint. Wood products industries are delivering innovative product and service solutions for future customers.
The Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) organized an international symposium for decision-makers and research stakeholders from 7–8 April in Lahti, Finland, to evaluate new opportunities and challenges for wood products business cluster. Based on the expert presentations and common discussions, Luke prepared a communiqué of six theses to influence decision-making in economic life and research programs in Europe and Finland.
Bioeconomy expands the wood products business cluster, which provides benefits for society
The bioeconomy provides a unique opportunity for wood products industries to raise their profile, speed up renewal and grow their business. Here, research, development and innovation work carries an important role, among other things in increasing competitive ability. Mauri Pekkarinen, Vice-Chairman of the Finnish Parliament, brought a reminder from the state government that Europe needs new energetic activity and employment in its economy – in this, we can take the American innovation activities as the model as well. Director Jaakko Kuusisaari from Tieto Corporation emphasized that the benefits of digitalization for business life can be applied much more in wood products industries than is currently being done.
The value of wood products both from the viewpoints of society and industry came across unambigiously in the presentations.
– Tomorrow we can manufacture everything from wood that we make today from fossil raw materials. We need a global market and customer insight and novel orientation to consumers, stated Director Miikka Pesonen from Stora Enso Ltd.
Ecological benefits, well-being effects and the smart technical capacity of wood should be utilized
Wood is the most versatile and greenest raw material of the century for building and living and for logistics solutions. Wood raises interest in building multi-story houses, when discussion is centering on indoor air quality or the speed and convertibility of construction. Regarding modern indoor furnishing, the opportunity that wood gives to combine aesthetic attraction and modern design is appealing. Advanced wood-based materials, so-called bioplastics, are replacing products from the petrochemical and metal industries in providing transportation and storage systems and in all kinds of vehicles.
Several speakers raised points about the psychophysiological well-being effects of wood products which are now being concluded as more significant than was previously known.
– It is time to launch the next level of sustainability, a personal sustainability that has meaning in how people experience sustainability in their own life, suggested Henrik Heräjärvi and Susanne Heiska from Luke.
Experts on a common affair of Europe
Participants of the symposium felt a collective anxiety about the visibility of wood products business cluster.
– Visibility in the machinery of European decision-making and research, development and innovation programs must be improved clearly, and the wood products business cluster must be able to address a common message to decision-makers, stressed Innovation Research Director Andreas Kleinschmit from FCBA, France.
The view was supported by Managing Director Johan Elvnert from FTP, the European Forest Technology Platform, who stated that the innovation communities could offer a vision for European decision-makers.
According to Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, Member of European Parliament, there is a strong will to promote bioeconomy in European Union.
– The EU wants to promote science-based policies and measures, cohesion in legislation and predictability of decisions for market actors. For example, building with wood should be acknowledged as a part of the bioeconomy, so that it can be fully included to the regulations of public acquisitions.