Forest Cluster Ltd, which was established by leading forest companies, universities and research institutes in 2007, has already put together three broad research programmes. The goal of the Intelligent and resource-efficient production technologies programme, which is already under way, is to develop more flexible production methods that can be implemented with considerably lighter investments than at present. The Future biorefinery programme will seek to develop effective fractionation technologies and enable the generation of new wood-based value chains. The third research programme, which is in the planning stage, will focus on customer solutions for the future.
Forest Cluster Ltd is responsible for starting research and innovation programmes and channeling research funds to selected focuses.
The wood products industry started joint research activities in the field by preparing a research strategy in the autumn. The aim of the research strategy is to create a broader, knowledge-based foundation for the wood products cluster and to support the creation of new and strong business operations in the field in Finland. Through the joint strategy, companies, research organizations and universities can strengthen research and expertise in the wood products field in Finland.
The Finnish forest industries want to take full advantage of European research work as well. The European forest-based sector has defined its long-term research policies and with the help of its Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform (FTP) has become a major research policy actor in the EU. Kimmo Kalela of Finland is the director of the FTP, which is a European partnership for research and development.
Significant new business operations do not come into being over night, however. The results of research and innovations require long-term work and inputs, which must be paid for with present products and by developing them. The basic point of departure is products that meet customers’ needs, but in addition what is necessary is an environment that supports the renewal of industry.
Forest industries developing present and future products
Finland has the world’s strongest cluster of industry based on wood processing expertise, including customer fields. The success of the Finnish forest industries in the global economy depends on the competitiveness and cost-effectiveness of our products and our ability to renew ourselves. The systematic improvement of expertise and innovativeness require not only commitment on the part of companies, but also the public sector’s investment in research and development activities. New products and services developed even further to meet customers’ needs will provide a good basis for success in the future.
The forest cluster will invest in renewal and producing new information, technology, expertise as well as new products and services for which there is global demand and solutions to lower production costs and raise products’ value added.
Field of the future
Over the longer term several factors will strengthen the forest industries’ opportunities in the future. The forest sector will be a strong part of the bio-based society of the future, since it offers solutions in line with sustainable development for construction, product packaging and energy production, for example. Wood, wood fibres and other wood constituents based on well-managed forestry and a renewable, recyclable and climate-friendly raw material also offer countless possibilities for new types of products and services.
Wood is a valuable renewable and recyclable material that is suitable for many uses. In the global economy it is a significant source of national value added, and its utilization also helps meet environmental and energy challenges.
Senior Vice President, Antro Säilä Finnish Forest Industries Federation, Business Environment and Innovation, tel. +358 9 132 6633
CEO Christine Hagström-Näsi, Forest Cluster Ltd, tel. +358 50 3222 401