Natural Resources Institute Finland

Forest sector comprised nearly 40% of Finland’s bioeconomy in 2017

The bioeconomy accounted for 16% of the output of the Finnish national economy and 12% of the value added in 2017. These figures have remained unchanged throughout this decade. Finland’s bioeconomy is strongly based on the forest sector, which makes up nearly 40% of the total output and value added. Contrary to recent years, employment in the bioeconomy sectors slightly increased in 2017.

According to preliminary data, the aggregate output of the bioeconomy sectors amounted to EUR 67.7 billion in 2017, and the value added totalled EUR 23.5 billion. Both of these indicators nominally increased by 5% from the year before, but, in real terms, the output and value added remained at the previous year’s level.

– Of the output, 62% was generated by the two main sectors in our bioeconomy: the forest sector and the food sector. The forest sector alone represented 38% of the total output, and this share has been relatively stable in recent years. With reference to value added, the proportion of the food and forest sectors increased to more than half, or 52% in 2017, says Martti Aarne, principal specialist at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

According the Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy, drawn up in 2014, the objective is to push our bioeconomy output up to EUR 100 billion by 2025. To reach this goal, output needs to increase by 5% per year from now on.

Bioeconomy investments EUR 5.7 billion in 2017

Investments in the bioeconomy are currently at a relatively high level, creating opportunities for growth and diversification in the bioeconomy. In 2017, bioeconomy investments totalled EUR 5.7 billion, an increase of nearly one fifth from the previous five-year period in real terms. Investments in the food sector amounted to EUR 1.7 billion, of which agriculture accounted for two thirds. It was followed by the forest sector and renewable energy generation, each comprising EUR 1.3 billion.

More people employed in the bioeconomy

The falling trend in bioeconomy employment came to a halt in 2017. A total of 315 000 people were employed in bioeconomy sectors, a marginal increase of 1% from the preceding year. That corresponded to 12% of the total labour force in Finland. The employment improved especially in wood construction and various bioeconomy services. Agriculture employed the largest number of people (81 500), an increase of 1% compared to 2016.

– The output, value added and investments in the Finnish bioeconomy have significantly increased in the 2010s. However, this has not had a positive impact on employment figures, Martti Aarne says.

In 2017, some 11 100 fewer people were employed in the bioeconomy than in 2010.

Annual bioeconomy monitoring

Luke compiles most of the bioeconomy statistics in Finland. The annual development of the bioeconomy is monitored using indicators of the national accounts, produced by Statistics Finland. The two organisations are jointly in charge of developing the methodology and substance of Finnish bioeconomy calculations.

Artikkeli Forest sector comprised nearly 40% of Finland’s bioeconomy in 2017 julkaistiin ensimmäisen kerran Luonnonvarakeskus.

Luke’s Finnish Forest Sector Economic Outlook 2018–2019: Exports are booming, and felling reached a new record

The Finnish forest sector is enjoying a cyclical peak. The production and export volumes of forest industry products are growing, industrial roundwood fellings are increasing, stumpage prices are rising, and the operating profit in non-industrial private forestry is improving. This development is expected to slow down in 2019.

Exports of sawnwood to China in decline

The problems involving the availability of logs that limited the production of sawn goods at the beginning of the year have been resolved, and production in 2018 is expected to grow by a few per cent from the previous year. However, the export volume of sawnwood will not reach the previous year’s level. Sawnwood exports to China are in decline, while exports to other markets, such as North Africa, are up. High demand in many export countries will increase the average export price of sawn goods significantly from the year before.

The export price of sawnwood is expected to stabilise in 2019, while exports and production will grow slowly. The production and exports of plywood will increase in 2018 and 2019, whereas the average export price is not expected to change.

The pulp boom continues – the production and exports of paper and paperboard will increase

This year, the production of pulp will increase by 8 per cent, and its exports will increase by as much as 13 per cent. These high production and exports figures can be explained above all by the significant increase in production capacity resulting from the excellent market situation. The import and use restrictions imposed on recycled fibre in China also increase the demand for pulp.

“This year, the export price of pulp will be nearly one-fifth higher than last year. Production and exports are also expected to show a slight increase next year. However, the export price will decrease slightly from this year’s peak level”, says Matleena Kniivilä, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

After a long slump, the production and exports of paper will increase this year. This is explained by decreases in the production capacity as a result of shutdowns in Europe and the competitive advantage obtained from the high price of pulp. In addition, the production and exports of paperboard continue their strong growth, as the export price increases. As a result of the positive development in the demand for and the price of end products, the profitability of the pulp and paper industry will reach a peak level this year and remain high next year

Demand for wood sets stumpage prices high

New investments in the forest industries increase the use of wood, and felling for Finnish markets will increase by 9 per cent this year to 68.3 million cubic metres. Imports of roundwood will also increase from last year.

The higher export prices of pine and spruce sawnwood and growing demand for sawmill chips will increase the average stumpage prices of softwood logs by 9–10 per cent. The increase in the production of pulp, paper and paperboard will increase the stumpage prices of pulpwood assortments by 8–11 per cent. In 2019, industrial roundwood fellings and the stumpage prices are expected to even out as a result of slower economic growth.

In terms of non-industrial private forestry, gross stumpage earnings will increase this year and next year to more than EUR 2 billion. The operating profit of non-industrial private forests is expected to be more than EUR 150 per hectare in 2018 and 2019.

The profitability of forest chips will improve

The prices of emissions rights have nearly tripled during the past year. This supports the competitiveness of forest chips, bark, and dust in heat production.

The use of forest chips is expected to increase by 3 per cent this year and by 2 per cent next year to 8.2 million cubic metres. The price of forest chips in 2018 is expected to remain at the previous year’s level, and to increase slightly next year. The consumption of wood pellets is expected to grow slightly this year and next year.


Artikkeli Luke’s Finnish Forest Sector Economic Outlook 2018–2019: Exports are booming, and felling reached a new record julkaistiin ensimmäisen kerran Luonnonvarakeskus.

FoodAfrica’s final report shows remarkable impact on food security in six African countries

After six years of hard work towards better food security in Africa, Luke-coordinated FoodAfrica programme comes to an end this autumn. The programme’s final report and a policy brief were published in a World Food Day Seminar in Helsinki last Wednesday.

FoodAfrica has been a unique programme for development cooperation. Mainly funded byt the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, the Programme has increased food security in six African countries by multidisciplinary research and capacity building.

The last two years have been dedicated to dissemination and bringing the research-based knowledge in people’s everyday life and political decision making.

FoodAfrica has, for example:

  • trained almost 20,000 farmers in sustainable farming
  • had positive influence on food security of over 300,000 people
  • trained 18 doctoral students and 18 master’s students

Based on the research, the farmers in target markets, for example:

  • decrease the risk of aflatoxin contaminations in maize by 80%
  • multiply milk production and profit by cross-breeding and effective and climate-friendly farming methods
  • get better yields with better nutritional value by improving the soil
  • improve the nutrition of mothers and children by increasing knowledge of local wild foods

Read more about FoodAfrica’s impact on the final report.

FoodAfrica created impact throughout the food value-chain. Image: Tiina Sileoni.

The work of the FoodAfrica programme was targeted at six West- and East-African coutries: Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, and Uganda. Its cross-cutting themes included, for example, mitigating and adapting to climate change and improving gender equality in agricultural communities.

In addition to Natural Resources Institute Finland, the partners of FoodAfrica included the University of Helsinki, HAMK University of Applied Sciences, Bioversity International, International Food Policy Research Institute, International Livestock Research Institute, and World Agroforestry Centre.

Artikkeli FoodAfrica’s final report shows remarkable impact on food security in six African countries julkaistiin ensimmäisen kerran Luonnonvarakeskus.

DEEP Water Well-being Challenge seeks new innovations for blue services

To promote water-based well-being, the BlueNordic project, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and Helsinki Think Company, in collaboration with Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), are introducing DEEP – Water Well-being Challenge.

Following our challenge for more sustainable use of the Baltic Sea in February, DEEP is now all about blue services. Consisting of two separate challenges, DEEP brings together academics from multiple disciplines and actors from the public, private, and third sector to co-create solutions for well-being and sustainable business from lakes, rivers or the Baltic Sea.

Time: 16 November at 5 pm – 18 November at 2 pm

Venue: Think Corner, Yliopistonkatu 4, Helsinki

Applications: by 23 October here

The challenges

Challenge 1: Blue services focuses on sustainable new services and business concepts for enhancing human well-being based on water/aquatic environments. Apply on your own or with your 2–5 person team and bring your pre-existing idea. We are looking for solutions for services ranging from everyday life to recreation, education and care.

Challenge 2: Blue access is all about envisioning policies and planning models to tackle the issue of accessibility, taking into account the principles of sustainability. Apply on your own and we will build a team for you. All you need is a passion for increasing the citizens’ accessibility to water environment. In this challenge, you will work together to reform the policies and planning in the use of water environment. Your solutions can revolve around any of the following themes: 1) Care & Social Inclusion 2) Education 3) Housing & Work 4) Recreation & Tourism.

What is in it for the teams?

DEEP – Water Well-being Challenge is aimed for all innovators: students, entrepreneurs and service providers as well as those with business prospects related to blue well-being. We support all teams with tailored mentoring from dedicated content experts sourced from our networks. Furthermore, DEEP is an excellent forum for networking and building capital to make real impact.

But there’s even more to it:

The best three teams of the Blue Services challenge will be granted prizes of 1,500, 1,000 and 500 euros respectively.

Blue Access challenge teams have a chance of getting their solution published in the Water and Well-being: Streams in Research and Practices publication conducted by BlueNordic researchers.


Please contact the organising team members on the right-side column.


Artikkeli DEEP Water Well-being Challenge seeks new innovations for blue services julkaistiin ensimmäisen kerran Luonnonvarakeskus.

Making a healthy relationship with nature and circular economy part of the daily lives of day-care centres and families

A new operating model is being created for Finnish day-care centres to promote children’s healthy relationship with nature and to build up children’s and families circular economy skills. In recent years, plenty of evidence has been accumulated of how an urban lifestyle and the city environment have changed human microbiota and compromised our immune systems.

The National Institute for Health and Welfare, the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra are creating an operating model called Natural steps towards wellbeing (Luontoaskel hyvinvointiin) for day-care centres which, among other things, aims to reduce food losses and encourage children’s exposure to diverse natural environments. In the initial phase, the model will be tested at day-care centres around Finland.

Photo: Kaisa Kuoppala

“Through this project, we wish to highlight the importance of circular economy, also in the daily lives of children and day-care centres. For example, by increasing the proportion of fruit and vegetables in meals, we can promote both children’s health and circular economy at day-care centres. Circular economy will also be supported by helping families understand the more extensive significance of food losses for the Earth’s carrying capacity”, notes Merja Rehn, specialist in the Circular economy focus area at Sitra.

In total, twelve day-care centres in Helsinki, Oulu, Jyväskylä and Lappeenranta will participate in the project. The day-care centres actively involved in the experiment will follow the practices of the Natural steps model, whereas no changes will take place in the daily lives of the control group.

“The project will help strengthen children’s immune systems in early childhood education and care”, explains Project Manager Heli Kuusipalo, Senior Researcher at the National Institute for Health and Welfare. “Exposure to diverse natural environments and a diet containing plenty of fruit and vegetables will encourage the growth of health-promoting microbiota in the body. This is particularly vital in the childhood years. Among other things, diverse microbiota will reduce the risk of asthma and allergies.”

The project is based on the National core curriculum for pre-primary education and the Meal recommendations for early childhood education and care published by the National Nutrition Council in January.

The Natural steps towards wellbeing project will change children’s daily routines at the day-care centre

Children at the participating day-care centres will be encouraged to be physically active and to explore, touch and observe nature around them. Children will also practise self-calming skills in nature. The children will also be guided in growing different plants, for instance in gardens created in playgrounds, various types of containers and green walls.

Sustainable circular economy will also be promoted by reducing food losses and teaching children what food losses are and how they can be monitored. The children will eat more fruit and vegetables and less meat at the meals served by their day-care centres. Day-care centre activities will be planned and carried out in close cooperation between the early childhood education and care services, catering service professionals and homes.

The project will begin with training provided for day-care centre staff in autumn 2018. The actual experiment will be launched at the day-care centres in January 2019. The final step will be producing an assessment of project implementation, based on which an effort will be made to mainstream the best practices nationally.

A forerunner both in Finland and internationally

The Natural steps towards wellbeing is a new operating model both in Finland and internationally. After the testing phase, it is hoped that the model can be mainstreamed in day-care centres across the country.

The National Institute for Health and Welfare will implement and coordinate the project together with SYKE and Luke. Other project participants are the National Nutrition Council, the Finnish Allergy Programme, the Finnish Institute for Occupational Health and the WWF. The project will be financed by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and co-funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Follow the project on Twitter: @LuontoaskelH

Artikkeli Making a healthy relationship with nature and circular economy part of the daily lives of day-care centres and families julkaistiin ensimmäisen kerran Luonnonvarakeskus.