5.1 Appendix 1: Updating the Bioeconomy Strategy
On 1 July 2020, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment appointed a steering group, coordination secretariat and a national Bioeconomy Panel for the update of the Bioeconomy Strategy.
The steering group was tasked with steering the progress of the bioeconomy strategy update, deciding on the necessary studies and other measures, presenting proposals on the objectives and limitations of the strategy, and outlining the key guidelines for the preparation of strategy work in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministerial Working Group on Climate and Energy Policy. The steering group was chaired by Petri Peltonen, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, and included representatives from the following ministries: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of the Environment Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Prime Minister’s Office.
The Coordination Secretariat was responsible for the practical progress and timetable of the strategy update as well as for writing the actual updated bioeconomy strategy, utilising such things as the commissioned background studies, completed scenario reviews, materials from the bioeconomy panel workshops and other hearings, the views of experts and the scientific world, as well as other relevant reports and information, such as the updated EU Bioeconomy Strategy and the European Green Deal. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Ministry of Transport and Communications were all represented in the secretariat.
The role of the Bioeconomy Panel was to participate in the preparatory work and in drawing up policies as an advisory body. This allowed for comprehensive dialogue with stakeholders and made it possible to get the entire field to commit to the objectives and implementation of the strategy. At the end of the preparatory phase, the panel will also continue its work as a bridge over government terms.
5.1.2 Background assessments
An operating environment analysis was used to create a picture of the change in the bioeconomy’s operating environment after the publication of the 2014 Bioeconomy Strategy. Scenarios produced a future picture of the bioeconomy, described the significance of the bioeconomy to the national economy and assessed the strengths of the bioeconomy, or the so-called hard core, which can be used to increase the bioeconomy’s value added. A commissioned report produced estimates on value added and measures to increase value added in different sectors of the bioeconomy. A SWOT analysis was created in the scenario work.
Regional bioeconomy forums examined the potential success factors of the bioeconomy from the perspective of the regions and how their development can be supported. A comparative study on bioeconomy strategies in other countries collected comparative information on solutions in other countries. The Otakantaa.fi website allowed all Finns the opportunity to share their views on the bioeconomy strategy.
At the Bioeconomy Panel’s strategy workshops, stakeholders brought their own views to the vision and measures through low-carbon roadmaps and cross-cutting themes from different sectors.
The update has also utilised existing strategies and programmes or those under preparation that have clear links to the bioeconomy.
The update of the Bioeconomy Strategy was launched in August 2020. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has carried the main responsibility for updating the strategy. Information on the update process was mainly provided through the ministries’ normal communication channels. In addition to the progress of the process, communication priorities included the regional bioeconomy forum, the citizens’ survey conducted in summer 2021 and the maintenance of normal news flow on the Biotalous.fi website.
In early 2021, the Bioeconomy Panel discussed the strategy update at four individual workshops on the basis of each sector’s low-carbon roadmaps, taking cross-cutting themes into account.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has been responsible, in particular, for consulting the regions and bringing the perspectives that emerge in this context into the strategy.
Different regions are developing the bioeconomy based on their own strengths and special characteristics. Interregional cooperation was considered important for the bioeconomy.
On 18 June 2021, a citizen’s survey was opened on the Otakantaa.fi website, in which respondents were asked to comment on the direction in which the strategy should be developed in the update. The results were used in the preparation of the measures included in the strategy. The strategy was posted on the Lausuntopalvelu.fi website for opinions 1 November. – 7 December 2021.
Organisation of communications
The task of communications in the updated Bioeconomy Strategy is to strengthen understanding on the importance of the bioeconomy for Finland and the EU, to openly describe the objectives, content and implementation of the Bioeconomy Strategy, to create interaction with stakeholders and to influence the increased prominence of the bioeconomy in the EU.
For this purpose, there is a communication team with representatives from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of the Environment and Tapio Oy. The activities of the team are guided by the strategy’s coordination secretariat in accordance with the strategy steering group’s policies.
The communications team will be supplemented, as necessary, by communicators from organisations with responsibilities in the implementation of the strategy, for example other ministries and administrative sectors.
Communications experts from the national bioeconomy panel’s organisations also support communications. They implement the purpose of the panel to strengthen dialogue with the strategy’s stakeholders.
Communication creates synergies with the Government’s other strategies and programmes related to the bioeconomy. These include Finland’s Climate Strategy and Energy Strategy, the Strategic Programme for the Circular Economy, the Plastics Road Map, the Climate-friendly Food Programme and the National Forest Strategy 2025.
The Biotalous.fi website launched in 2012 in connection with the preparation of the first Bioeconomy Strategy is maintained by Tapio Oy and serves as the communication channel for the bioeconomy. Its editorial council’s members include the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of the Environment.