Driving forces for a sustainable transition to bioeconomy
2019-03-29How do we increase the pace of the transition to a sustainable bioeconomy? What are the driving forces and what do the challenges look like? Some are about innovation and new technological solutions, but equally important is to change rules and frameworks at the global, national and regional level. That people need to meet and exchange knowledge, experiences and build networks is a necessity. The conference People and networks matter - enabling sustainable bioeconomy transition in Karlstad on 27-28 March, constituted an arena for both networking, exchanging knowledge - and creating policy.
Nordregio's Karen Refsgaard, Research Director, stated that local networks with different stakeholders play an important role in the organization of the work in order to develop a sustainable bioeconomy.
"People have an important role in the transition to a sustainable bioeconomy and local networks with stakholders matter. Local and regional networks are needed to utilize knowledge and consider different interests. It's not just about what we have, but how we use our resources. The aim of the conference is, among other things, to work with policy briefs to give input to international, national and regional frameworks."
The forest provides opportunities
Among the speakers were both researchers and practitioners. One of them was Pekka Leskinen, professor at the European Forest Institute and head of the institute's bioeconomy program. The head office is in Joensuu, Finland, and the institute has offices in Brussels, Bonn, Barcelona and Bordeaux. On behalf of 29 European member states, it drives both networks and research projects for a sustainable transition to bioeconomy.
"The forest has a great role to play when it comes to lowering carbon dioxide emissions, for example in energy production, to replace plastics, to make fiber in textiles and using wood instead of concrete when building houses," Pekka Leskinen noted.
About land conflicts, driving forces and innovation
The conference included plenary presentations as well as workshops with themes such as competition and conflicts regarding land use, management of bioeconomy, innovative networks as driving forces and bioeconomy from a Nordic perspective - opportunities for innovative development or empty promises to municipalities and regions? And a special session paid attention to Värmland, a region where collaboration in networks and clusters gives an impact on regional strategies, research and development work in industries and companies.
Kirsi Mononen from Finnish Apila Group, was pleased with the conference.
"This conference has given me a broader perspective on how Nordic countries use local networks to promote ideas and innovation for the transition to a sustainable bioeconomy. These two days have also provided med with opportunities for good conversations, new ideas and not least new contacts, new networks. I we will carry on the interaction in the future."
"The transition to a sustainable bioeconomy is absolutely necessary. To say the least, it presents us with challenges, but also gives us opportunities. Getting together and exchanging knowledge, building network clusters and collaborations is a prerequisite for our success", says Margareta Dahlström, professor of human geography and director of Center for Regional Studies at Karlstad University.
The conference was arranged by the Center for Regional Studies, CRS, together with Nordregio, SNS-Nordic Forest Research, NKJ - Nordic Agri Research, Luke - Natural Resources Institute in Finland, NIBI-Norwegian Institute for Bioeconomy, UiO: Tik - Center for Technology, Innovation and Culture at the University of Oslo, Paper Province, Region Värmland and Ingoskog – Innovation for green transition in the forest with the support of the European Regional Development Fund Interreg Sweden-Norway.