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Perspectives on Sustainable Bioeconomy in the Baltic Sea Region
‘Bioeconomy’ is a complex concept that cuts across many sectors and covers several policy areas. To achieve an overall understanding and support a successful bioeconomy, a cross-sectorial approach is necessary. In practice, due to the concept’s wide scope and varying international approaches, fully understanding bioeconomy is challenging on policy level. This paper provides a background of the topic through an analysis of bioeconomy strategies in the Baltic Sea region. Expert interviews and a small survey were conducted to discover the current and intended focuses of these countries’ bioeconomy sectors. The research shows that supporting sustainability is one of the keys in developing the future bioeconomy. The results highlighted that the bioeconomy has to be sustainable and based on circular economy principles. Currently, traditional bioeconomy sectors like food, wood, fish & waters as well as fuel & energy, which are in the core of national bioeconomy strategies, are best known and are considered more relevant than other bioeconomy industries. However, there is increasing potential for novel sectors, such as textiles and pharmaceuticals. The present research indicates that the opportunities presented by these bioeconomy sectors should be recognised and promoted. Education, research and innovation can play key roles in developing transformative and sustainable improvements in primary production and renewable resources. Furthermore, cooperation between businesses and educators is important.
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[1] K. McCormick, and N. Kautto, “The bioeconomy in Europe: An overview’, Sustainability, 5, 2013, pp. 2589-2608; doi:10.3390/su5062589
[2] European Commission. Innovating for sustainable growth: A bioeconomy for Europe. COM (2012)60. Accessed 19.2.2019 at:
[3] E. Loiseau, L. Saikku, R. Antikainen, N. Droste, B. Hansjürgens, K. Pitkänen, P. Leskinen, P. Kuikman, and M. Thomsen, “Green economy and related concepts”. J. of Cleaner Production, 139, 2016, pp. 361-371. doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.08.024
[4] D. D’Amato, N. Droste, B. Allen, M. Kettunen, K. Lähtinen, J. Korhonen, P. Leskinen, B.D. Matthies, and A. Toppinen, “Green, circular, bio economy: A comparative analysis of sustainability avenues”. J. of Cleaner Production, 168, 2017, pp. 716-734. doi: org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.09.053.
[5] I. Lewandowski, N. Gaudet, J. Lask, J. Maier, B. Tchouga, and R. Vargas-Carpintero, “Bioeconomy concepts and research methods: Context” in bioeconomy shaping the transition to a sustainable, biobased economy, I. Lewandowski, Ed. Cham: Springer, 2018, ch. 2.
[6] Nordic Council of Ministers. Bioeconomy in the Baltic Sea Region. Accessed 19.2.2019 at:
[7] European Commission. A sustainable bioeconomy for Europe: strengthening the connection between economy, society and the environment, Updated Bioeconomy Strategy. 2018. doi:10.2777/792130
[8] European Commission. Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy, COM (2015)0614. Accessed 17.2.2019 at:
[9] Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Realising the Circular Bioeconomy. DSTI/STP/BNCT(2017)7/FINAL. Accessed 13.3.2019 at:
[10] German Bioeconomy Council. Bioeconomy Policy (Part III) Update Report of National Strategies around the World. 2018. Accessed 20.2.2019 at: Downloads/GBS_2018_Bioeconomy-Strategies-around-the_World_Part-III.pdf
[11] European Commission. Guide to Research and Innovation. Strategies for Smart Specialisations (RIS3). May 2012. Accessed 19.2.2019 at:
[12] Nordic Council of Ministers. Bioeconomy in the Baltic Sea Region, 2017. Accessed 19.2.2019 at:
[13] BioSTEP. H2020. Bioeconomy Policies around the World, 2017. Accessed 19.2.2019 at:
[14] European Commission. Bioeconomy Knowledge Centre: Bioeconomy, 2018. Accessed 19.2.2019 at:
[15] Bioökonomie. Worldwide strategies, 2018. Accessed 19.2.2019 at:
[16] Nordic Council of Ministers. Development of the Nordic Bioeconomy, 2015. Accessed 19.2.2019 at:
[17] Nordic Council of Ministers. State of Play. Bioeconomy strategies and policies in the Baltic Sea Region countries, 2016. Accessed 19.2.2019 at: 2016_docs/Working_Paper_1_%20BSR_Council.pdf
[18] European Commission. European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. COM(2009) 248. Accessed 13.3.2019 at:
[19] The Swedish Institute. Prestudy: Designing a Baltic Leadership Programme on bioeconomy & youth, 2018.
[20] The Swedish Institute. Baltic Leadership Programme on Youth and Bioeconomy. Accessed 19.3.2019 at:
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