A Circular, Renewable and Smart Bioeconomy – Finland’s priority proposals for European Union

News - Published 16.3.2018

Non Paper by Finland, Feb 20, 2018
A Circular, Renewable and Smart Bioeconomy – Finland’s priority proposals for European Union

Sustainable bioeconomy solutions will provide a foundation for well-being and
competiveness in Europe. To ensure that this can be achieved it will be necessary to
implement and monitor the Commission’s coherent strategic goals and actions.

Finland supports a revision of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy in 2018. The Bioeconomy
Strategy is still highly relevant, particularly in the current context of circular economy
initiatives, the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We anticipate
mutual benefit from such a revision, as was the case with the existing EU Bioeconomy
Strategy (2012) and the Finnish National Strategy for Bioeconomy (2014). Finland firmly
believes in the value of placing the bioeconomy on the list of top priorities, leading to a
coherent and systemic new bioeconomy strategy.

The leading principles in the promotion of the bioeconomy should include the following:
development through research, innovation and market-orientation, the profitable primary
production, the sustainable use of bio resources, aim for simpler policy measures, removal
of unnecessary administrative burden, and predictable regulation to attract investment and
boost the economic upturn in Europe. Bioeconomy development should be carefully
assessed in order not to compromise ecosystem services and health.

Finland’s key recommendations concerning the drafting of an updated EU Bioeconomy
Strategy and Action Plan are as follows: the logical links between the objectives should be
specified; inconsistencies in definitions and use of terminology should be corrected; and a
monitoring framework should be included, thus allowing a quantitative review to be made.

Finland is willing to cooperate with the Commission and the other Member States in as
many ways as possible. The full potential of the bioeconomy will best be realised through
broad-based cooperation between services, and by fully exploiting the synergies to be found
at the interface between the bioeconomy and cross-cutting themes like climate change, the
circular economy, digitalisation and industrial policy.

New business from the bioeconomy

  • New business should be generated by means of rethinking value chains, risk
    financing, bold experiments, strong regional markets and the crossing of sectoral
  • The bioeconomy strategy is supporting fundamental research, but more focus should
    also be given to applied research and near-to-market activities.
  • Immaterial value creation should be promoted to increase the added value of
    products and services.
  • EU -policies and research activities should support the development of new
    technologies and innovations as part of a sustainable bioeconomy and guarantee a
    predictable operating environment for new investments.

Accessibility and sustainability of biomasses

  • The availability of renewable natural resources should be secured with wellfunctioning
    raw material markets and sustainable resource use.
  • Biomass availability for current and future uses should be further enlarged through
    side streams and residues.
  • Public awareness and acceptability of the bioeconomy should be increased.
  • Better information should be provided on biomass resources and their usability and
    sustainability; digitalised biomass management is a means to secure sustainability.
  • Protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services must be an integral part of
    sustainable bioeconomy.

Coherent policy environment and actions

  • Greater coherence should be sought between various EU policies.
  • The scope of the bioeconomy should be both widened and deepened.
  • The policy framework should be flexible, giving Member States the possibility to
    choose the actions most suitable for national conditions.
  • Greater international collaboration should be pursued in regard to harmonisation of certification, opportunities for bio-based procurement and exchange of information on best practices with countries outside EU.

Competitive operating environment for the bioeconomy

  • The encouraging and predictable legal and policy framework is needed.
  • Greater attention should be given to replacement of fossil raw materials with
    sustainable renewable and secondary raw materials with added value in order to
    tackle climate change and promote sustainable development.
  • Greater recognition should be given to the important role of public procurement in
    promoting and opening markets for bio-based products and services including new
    business models.
  • The city-based bioeconomy should be further developed, in balance with rural areas.

Strong bioeconomy and circular economy competence base

  • The competence base should be upgraded through a strong focus on life-long
    education and comprehensive research.
  • To ensure knowledge and best practices are shared effectively, a strong focus should
    be placed on networking of research activities interacting with different stakeholders
    and raising awareness of their skills.

Read more: Non Paper by Finland (pdf)