In a bioeconomy economic activity is based on sustainable use of renewable resources, and therefore it is widely considered as a component of circular economy. The bioeconomy has attracted substantial interest from policy-makers in in recent years – perhaps not surprising when you consider the numbers. In 2014, the broadly defined European bioeconomy field employed 22 million people and had an estimated annual turnover of approximately €2 trillion (Teräs et. al. 2014). In the Nordic context, the bioeconomy is of interest for both its environmental benefits and its ability to contribute to regional development. It contributes to local value-creation as generating, for example, energy and food locally keeps both revenue and jobs in the region. Bioeconomy is also about finding innovative ways to use natural resources, invigorate or revive traditional industries facing decline and increase the value of local production. 

The cases that have been selected for this section are characterised by high levels of cooperation (e.g. Case 14. Growing the bioeconomy in Europe’s forest region; Case 19. Private-public commitment for bioeconomy in Örnsköldsvik; Case 23. Multi-stakeholder approach advances the bioeconomy in Lolland Municipality). They also highlight the role of the bioeconomy in increasing the resilience of regions by strengthening their ability to be self-sufficient and competitive (e.g. Case 15. Värmland and the Paper Province; Case 17. Biotechnology – the new oil in Hedmark?; Case 20. Regionally driven bioeconomy development in Central Finland). Finally, the focus is set on bioeconomic development in sparsely populated regions (Case 16. The bioeconomy in sparsely populated South Iceland).

All bioeconomy cases: