New year, new beginning, new knowledge to acquire. Since the beginning of 2017 I came to Helsinki, Finland to work together with some very bright people here at the department of forest sciences. Basically, we will be focusing on developing an analytical framework and collecting some data that will hopefully allow us to compare forest actors’ perceptions and networks with regards to bioeconomy innovation systems.

The Helsinki Cathedral illuminated

Why Finland? Well, the Finns have really been going out if their way to get this bioeconomy thing moving. In fact Finland sees itself as the “bioeconomy country”. If you don’t believe me, take a look at their national strategy or at this very informative documentary (with the most original  documentary host I’ve ever seen !) . As a colleague from Finland says, bioeconomy is expected to be “the new Nokia” for the economy.Whether this resource-driven approach will indeed jump-start the Finnish economy remains to be seen.

The (forest) resource is definitively there, and big international forest companies are again in the lime-light ( I mean literally in the lime-light: take a look at the light show displayed on Stora Enso’s impressive office building situated in the heart of Helsinki). It seems that there are a lot of opportunities for companies to create new “business ecosystems” around themselves. But does this make bioeconomy truly inclusive? What does sustainability mean in this context ? Who is involved and why? Is there really a sustainability transition or just another buzz word? These are just some of the questions we’re trying to answer during our project.

Anyways, I plan to post a series of updates about the Finnish approach to bioeconomy, so stay tuned 😉

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