Unlocking the new economic development - the prospect of bioeconomy

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August 11th, 4PM The Nordic Council of Ministers´ office in Estonia holds a debate at Opinion Festival (Arvamusfestival) in Paide, focused on bioeconomy. Why countries and companies invest increasingly in bioeconomy? Because, this is the next economic wave. Bioeconomy shall also mitigate the climate change and environmental impact and make sustainable use of natural resources. This is the only way to do business today! The bioeconomy means the smart, circular use of renewable natural resources for food, feed, bio-products and energy. During the debate we shall look into how the bioeconomy reconciles environment and economy and bolster rural employment. We investigate the new bioeconomy business model and describe what is in it for everybody. We have invited Nordic entrepreneurs to share their experiences about opportunities and challenges of bioeconomy. Estonian panelists contemplate on how Estonia could step up the developments towards bioeconomy - what will this demand of society, communities and the government? Come along, listen in and have your say on how to do business in the future, where current trends are pointing us and why certain countries are dedicated to promoting the bioeconomy.

Participating in the debate

Stefan Sundman, Vice-President, UPM Biofore (Finland)

Stefan Sundman works as Vice president for public and media relations at UPM the Biofore company. He engages especially in the energy, climate change and forest related policies with a passion for the development of the global bioeconomy.

UPM leads the global integration of bio and forest industries into a new, sustainable and innovation-driven future. The company consists of six business areas: UPM Biorefining, UPM Energy, UPM Raflatac, UPM Specialty Papers, UPM Paper ENA (Europe & North America) and UPM Plywood. All products are made of responsibly sourced, renewable raw materials. They offer alternatives to replace non-renewable fossil-based materials. UPM also develops new innovative and sustainable businesses. Biofuels, biocomposites and biochemicals are based on our extensive know-how and strong position in the forest biomass sourcing and processing value chain.

Prior to his 6 years at UPM, Sundman has been working a decade within Finnish Forest Industries Federation with different similar responsibilities on both national and EU level.

Tanja Häyrynen, project manager, Arctic Bioeconomy (Finland)

Arctic Smart Rural Community Cluster works to stop the capital outflow in Lapland and to support already existing entrepreneurships and create new innovative enterprises based on bioeconomy. The biggest reasons behind the capital outflow are the food and energy purchases from outside of Lapland. Sustainable energy could be produced in the communities and smart food processing and logistics in rural Lapland can reduce the capital outflow. Cluster aims to add value to food production enterprises, SMEs, farmers and decentralised energy production in Lapland region.

Arctic Bioeconomy is one tool in regional development done in Arctic Smart Rural Community Cluster. Arctic Bioeconomy works to improve the collaboration between different actors on Lapland’s bioeconomy field. Arctic Bioeconomy is responsible for coordinating the regional development on bioeconomy field in Lapland and communicating about the success stories of different bioeconomy initiatives in Lapland. Arctic Bioeconomy has four different main themes: food and natural products, decentralised renewable energy, wood construction and blue bioeconomy. The Arctic bioeconomy development program will be published in fall 2017 and it will include the main concrete actions throughout which Lapland’s bioeconomy can grow sustainably.

Toomas Kevvai, Vice-chancellor of Estonian Ministry of Rural Affairs

Estonia should set people’s increased well-being as the objective of the development of the bioeconomy through the sustainable use of bioeconomic resources. It is important that we use our resources by implementing both new and existing knowledge and technological development in the best possible way. The introduction of the latest scientific achievements throughout production and processing must be significantly reinforced. At the same time, it should not be overlooked that there also needs to be a sufficient quantity of forests, farmland, pristine nature and pleasant places to live in Estonia in the future. In fostering the bioeconomy we should be guided by the principle that it preserves and promotes a living environment that boosts the attractiveness of Estonia as a whole so as to entice enterprising people from all areas of life to come here, whether that be the creative economy, IT or another field of the future. The bioeconomy itself must also develop in a direction that challenges people with great potential for development.

Toomas Kevvai has been the Deputy Secretary General for Food Safety, Research and Development since 1 April 2013. He manages the work of the Food Safety, Plant Health and Research & Development departments. Prior to this he was responsible in the ministry for shaping agricultural, rural development and fishery policies.

Kristjan Piirimäe, sustainability expert (Estonia)

Kristjan Piirimäe is an environmental expert who works primarily in the areas of GIS modelling, ecosystem services and water protection. He represents the Estonian Council of Environmental NGOs on the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.

Via developments in the bioeconomy we could reduce the dependence of the economy on fossil fuels and non-renewable materials. At the same time, the biosphere is an extremely sensitive part of our planet which is in short supply and will not withstand an increase in pressure. Therefore, the bioeconomy cannot be a wonder drug in curing environmental problems – rather society should be made more ecoefficient.

Moderator: Madis Tilga (Nordic Council of Ministers´office in Estonia)

Language: English

Date and time: August 11, 4-5.30 PM

Venue: Avastuste ala (Discovery stage), Opinion Festival, Paide