Regulation to promote bioeconomy – project

The ‘Regulation to promote bioeconomy’ project examines legislative and administrative obstacles and possibilities in terms of promoting bioeconomy

EU approved its own bioeconomy strategy in 2012. In recent years, numerous joint strategies and plans related to the theme have been prepared in Finland, and a Government resolution has highlighted the bioeconomy as one of the spearheads for growth in the Finnish economy along with cleantech. The bioeconomy strategy aims to generate new economic growth and jobs through the expansion of bioeconomy business as well as high-added-value products and services, while securing the operational preconditions of natural ecosystems. The goal of the strategy is to produce competitive and sustainable bioeconomic solutions for global problems and create new business in Finland and abroad, generating well-being throughout the country. In order to reach these goals, efforts must be made to eliminate administrative and legislative obstacles to the development of bioeconomy. The Regulation to promote bioeconomy project, which was initiated in December 2014, aims to issue proposals on how to eliminate these obstacles.

The project views the functionality of administrative structures form the viewpoint of bioeconomy. The aim of the project is to identify any such discrepancies in the regulatory and administrative system that maintain the current production structures and hinder the increasing transition to bioeconomy. On the other hand, the project explores possibilities of promoting bioeconomy through new and more effective regulation and administrative procedures, which create demand for new bioeconomic products and services. The project seeks practical solutions for promoting bioeconomy. The project examines bioeconomy in the broadest sense, including the new and traditional bio-based products of the manufacturing industry, as well as ecosystem services that promote health and well-being. Particular attention is paid to the themes, platforms and types of cooperation that are essential to the implementation of the bioeconomy strategy. In addition to this, the measures required to strengthen them are outlined. Possibilities for bioeconomy can be found beyond the boundaries of and in the interfaces between the current operating areas.

Companies and authorities play an essential role

Cooperation with bioeconomic operators has been highlighted as a starting point for the project. A pivotal part of the project are companies in the field of bioeconomy, whose experiences regarding the regulation of bioeconomy are analysed within the framework of the project. The authorities implementing the legislation form another essential group, whose experiences concerning the application of the law and any issues that may arise in that context are also surveyed. Needs for change and development are examined through legislative analysis and literature review, along with questionnaires, interviews and workshop activities aimed at essential bioeconomic operators and interest groups. Overall, the project team comprises a wide-reaching representation of operators in the field of bioeconomy.

The efforts are guided by a steering group with representatives of various ministries (Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health), authorities (ELY Centre of Uusimaa and State Regional Administrative Agency of Uusimaa) and key operators in the field of bioeconomy (Metsäteollisuus ry, Kemianteollisuus ry, Metsähallitus). The efforts will be implemented as part of the government’s analysis and research operations under the supervision of the Ministry of the Environment, where the responsible official will be Ministerial Adviser Merja Saarnilehto.

The ‘Smart use of scarce resources – Regulation to promote bioeconomy’ (Niukat resurssit viisaasti käyttöön – Sääntelystä biotalouden edistäjä) project is coordinated by the Joensuu-based company Linnunmaa Oy, which specialises in the implementation of environmental legislation. The working group includes researchers from the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Lapland, the Finnish Environment Institute and the Finnish Forest Research Institute. The project will end in November 2015, and its budget is €150,000.

The author of the article, Eeva Punta of Linnunmaa Oy, serves as the director of the ‘Regulation to promote bioeconomy’ project.
tel. +358 (0)400 298 465
eeva.punta@linnunmaa.fi

Published 6 Feb 2015