As a whole, the Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy is well prepared. The strategy was jointly drafted by seven ministries, VTT and Sitra. A large number of stakeholders in the bioeconomy sector, such as companies and organisations representing the interests of bioeconomy actors, were also consulted in the process. With this approach, it is more likely that the strategy will not be limited to a single government term.
The National Audit Office (NAOF) has produced an assessment of the preparation of the Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy. The Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy (‘Sustainable growth from bioeconomy’) was drafted between 2012 and 2014 in a project launched by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and approved by the Government. In the strategy, bioeconomy is defined as an economy that relies on renewable natural resources to produce food, energy, products and services.
The Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy was jointly prepared by seven ministries, VTT and Sitra, and stakeholders in the bioeconomy sector were also extensively consulted. Ordinary citizens also had an opportunity to express their views on two websites.
“Extensive cooperation in the drafting process helped to achieve political consensus. This in turn helps to ensure that the strategy can be successfully implemented and that the process can continue for several government terms. Our recommendation is therefore that ministries should continue to prepare comprehensive strategies and programmes in a cross-administrative manner and extensively involve stakeholders in the process,” says Hanna Virta, Principal Performance Auditor at NAOF.
The preparation of the Bioeconomy Strategy was well managed even though the work took about one year more than originally planned. NAOF also found room for improvement in the strategy work. For example, no alternatives to the strategy were presented so that their economic impacts could have been assessed and compared. Moreover, the risks arising from the implementation of the strategy were not evaluated and their treatment was not systematically planned.
“In the future, when strategies are prepared in central government, alternatives should be reviewed and the risks arising from the implementation should already be considered during the drafting stage,” Virta concludes.
There has been a great deal of focus on bioeconomy in Finland in recent years: In the programme of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s Government, a total of EUR 323 million was allocated to bioeconomy and clean solutions between 2016 and 2018. These projects are partially based on the Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy. The aim of the strategy is to increase Finland’s bioeconomy output to EUR 100 billion and to create 100,000 new jobs by the year 2025. These targets are based on the situation in 2011 when the Finnish bioeconomy output totalled EUR 60 billion and the sector employed 319,000 people.
Read more about the audit report: Preparation of the Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy