Bioeconomy growth the basis for forest industry’s new research agenda

Friday 17 February 2017

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On 8 February the Swedish Forest Industries Federation (Skogsindustrierna) alongside representatives from forest industry research institutes presented the agenda produced to clearly define the research areas that are paramount for the bioeconomy and the future competitiveness of the Swedish forest industry.

The afternoon programme was started by Torgny Persson, Research and Innovation Director at the Swedish Forest Industries Federation. He began by providing a brief background on why the research agenda is important, including the fact that the Swedish forest industry is the third largest exporter of forest products, making it a vital player not only in Sweden’s bioeconomy but also the world’s bioeconomy.

Torgny Persson said that the GDP index is directly linked to higher carbon emissions. The bioeconomy therefore increases in significance as the economy grows and the population increases. He also stated that there are too few research initiatives in the industry. Research investment is needed in products that already exist, such as paper, pulp, board and sawn wood, as well as in new products.

According to Torgny Persson, one of most important aims of the forest industry’s research agenda is to increase industrial-scale wood construction for a sustainable society.

The research agenda presentation continued with Lars Wilhelmsson of the Forest Research Institute of Sweden (Skogforsk) highlighting the most important points from the research agenda that focus on the forest and forestry. Among other things, he pointed out the importance of a value chain perspective to ensure a holistic approach to better understand and improve communication with customers. Kennet Johansson from RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Bioeconomy division, continued the afternoon programme with a presentation of the research agenda for pulp, paper and biorefineries. This part, according to Kennet, covers essentially the entire process – from forest to finished product. He also emphasised the importance of investing in areas that are both new and old as well as entirely new ones.

Hans Holmberg, also from RISE Bioeconomics division, went on to present the part of the research agenda that focuses on wood. Here researchers have worked closely with both the national wood council and the small wood council.

Digitalisation was mentioned by Lars Wilhelmsson, Kennet Johansson and Hans Holmberg as a crucial factor in the preparation of the forest industry’s research agenda.

The afternoon continued with input from Karin Perhans from Swedish Research Council Formas who discussed the benefits of research agendas in general. Mikael Hannus from Stora Enso, Chairman of the Swedish Forest Industries Federation’s research and innovation committee, gave his insights into the benefits of the research agenda for the industry, and Charlotte Bengtsson of Forest Research Institute of Sweden (Skogforsk) and IVA’s Division VIII Forest Technology, discussed Skogforsk’s strategies and connections to the Swedish Forest Industries Federation’s research agenda. 

Watch the presentation in Swedish here

Author: Johanna Theander