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Creating value from bioresources - Innovation in Nordic Bioeconomy

  • Published 11/03/2014
The objectives of this study were to identify the innovation-oriented challenges as well as ar-eas with high growth potential within the Nordic bioeconomy. As a starting point, the study also produced important background data concerning the volume and constituents of bioe-conomy in Nordic countries.

Bioeconomy development promotes a more resource-efficient circular economy based in-creasingly on renewable energy, products and materials produced through sustainable use of ecosystem services from land and water. A greater focus on research and innovation can provide us with new products derived from biomass and new services required for realization of the bioeconomy development. The bioeconomy development helps combat climate change, reduce waste and create new jobs.
According to the estimate, the total turnover of the key bioeconomy sectors in Nordic coun-tries is roughly 184 000 M€ including agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, forestry, food industry, forest industry and bioenergy and biofuels. This is 10 % of the total economy in Nordic countries. The share is highest in Iceland, where the key sectors of bioeconomy stand for 18 % of the total economy, and lowest in Norway with a 6 % share. In all countries, the largest contributors to bioeconomy include forest industry or food industry. This shows the economic importance of intermediate and end product processing in the bio-based value chains.
The largest innovation and growth potential of bioeconomy seems to be in its crosscutting nature. The following interesting crosscutting growth areas of the bioeconomy in the Nordic countries were identified: bio-based chemicals, biomaterials, biofuels and bioenergy, biorefin-eries, resource-efficiency and industrial symbiosis and services based on ecosystem ser-vices or supporting the above mentioned areas of products and creating value without tangi-ble material flows and including design.

Bioeconomy development promotes a more resource-efficient circular economy based in-creasingly on renewable energy, products and materials produced through sustainable use of ecosystem services from land and water. A greater focus on research and innovation can provide us with new products derived from biomass and new services required for realization of the bioeconomy development. The bioeconomy development helps combat climate change, reduce waste and create new jobs.


According to the estimate, the total turnover of the key bioeconomy sectors in Nordic coun-tries is roughly 184 000 M€ including agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, forestry, food industry, forest industry and bioenergy and biofuels. This is 10 % of the total economy in Nordic countries. The share is highest in Iceland, where the key sectors of bioeconomy stand for 18 % of the total economy, and lowest in Norway with a 6 % share. In all countries, the largest contributors to bioeconomy include forest industry or food industry. This shows the economic importance of intermediate and end product processing in the bio-based value chains.


The largest innovation and growth potential of bioeconomy seems to be in its crosscutting nature. The following interesting crosscutting growth areas of the bioeconomy in the Nordic countries were identified: bio-based chemicals, biomaterials, biofuels and bioenergy, biorefin-eries, resource-efficiency and industrial symbiosis and services based on ecosystem ser-vices or supporting the above mentioned areas of products and creating value without tangi-ble material flows and including design.