Innovation in the Forest Industry

The Swedish forest industry accounts for close to 35 percent of Sweden’s net exports, but is plagued by unsatisfactory profitability due to changes in consumption patterns and low R&D intensity. The purpose of the Innovation in the Forest Industry project is to identify how to reinforce the Swedish forest industry’s position as a global leader.

The forest is sometimes described as Sweden’s green gold. The Swedish forest industry accounts for close to 35 percent of Sweden’s net exports – our largest export industry by far.

The forest industry has significant potential in terms of growth, job creation and promoting a sustainable bioeconomy. The forest is also renewable, its products are recyclable and it should be seen as a key to solving the climate issue.

But over the past few years the industry has been plagued by unsatisfactory profitability – both in Sweden and globally. One explanation is changed consumption patterns driven by digitalisation. The forest industry suffers from low R&D intensity, which has resulted, among other things, in many poorly differentiated products.

The purpose of the Innovation in the Forest Industry project is to identify how Sweden’s forest industry, by taking an increasingly large role in a transition to a bio-based economy, can reinforce the sector’s world-leading position.


Work groups

Four work groups are each focusing on one of the following areas: Future Value Chains and Venture Capital; Research, Development and Innovation; Energy, Fuel and the Built Environment; political reference group. Some questions to be raised and explored in these areas:

• Future value chains and venture capital
How can the forest industry best develop new business models? Is it possible to bridge the innovation gap? What needs to be done to ensure access to venture capital for the development of new products? Is it possible to speed up the development of the next generation of wood-based products?

• Research, Development and Innovation
How will the future forest industry embrace new and transboundary ideas? What is the best way to organise this process to open up creative environments for innovation (including business development) and generate new knowledge? To what extent can models in other areas to promote innovation and knowledge be used? How can we join forces and coordinate government initiatives in cooperation with other countries?

• Fuel, Transport and the Built Environment
What will be the role of forest raw materials in the energy system? How can biofuels replace fossil fuels to reduce climate impact? How can more of the forest’s resources be used to increase value in construction processes? How can forest-related players contribute to Sweden’s great need for a faster pace of construction?

The project’s goal is to urge academic, industrial and political players to move in the direction of a renewed and strengthened commitment to forest-based products.

The project timeframe is 2015–2017.


{Facts box}

Projektets ledning

Mats Johnson
Project Director

Hampus Lindh
Project Manager

Johanna Theander
Communications Manager

Gustaf Wahlström
Project Coordinator



Billerud-Korsnäs, Preem, SCA, Sveaskog, Södra Skogsägarna and Tillväxtverket.


Photo: Jesper Andersson/Södra