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The Bioeconomy celebrates nature

The 2nd World BioEconomy Forum at Ruka, Finland
September 11-13, 2019

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Experts from the leading edge of bioeconomy gather together in the outstanding nature of northeast Finland for roundtable discussions at the second ever World BioEconomy Forum in September 2019!

Speaker Updates
 


Grant Rosoman, Global forests solutions Senior Advisor, Greenpeace International, is joining the panel discussion on Forest bioeconomy and climate change to discuss the role of forests and global solutions to deforestation.


Rainer Häggblom, Chairman of Häggblom & Partners Ltd, will join panel 3 "CEO Panel" to share his visions for the financial side of bioeconomy and especially the future of the forest industry.


Dr Mark Rudnicki, the Executive Director of the Michigan Forest Biomaterials Institute (MiFBI), will be joining panel 1 "Implementing Biostrategies" to discuss the efforts to advance the forest bioeconomy in Michigan, USA.

Interested in contributing to the panels as a speaker? Please send a proposal including the panel you are interested in and an abstract of your topic to info@wcbef.com.
 
See more on the program and speakers here
Speaker Insights
We asked some of the speakers of World BioEconomy Forum about their expectations for the event and the future of bioeconomy - see what they responded below!
 
Isabella Plimon is the Director for Innovative Technologies and Bioeconomy at the Austrian Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism. She also represents Austria in the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) and the Horizon 2020 Energy Program Committee. Before joining the directorate, Isabella worked as an advisor for international energy and environmental affairs to the Vice-Chancellor of Austria. Isabella has also represented Austrian businesses on a national, EU and international level focusing on energy and climate policy for several years. Isabella holds degrees from Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien and Technische Universität Berlin. (photo: BMNT/Paul Gruber)

Please tell us about your vision for the BioEconomy

When adopting the Austrian Bioeconomy Strategy we stated our mission clearly: “Bioeconomy stands for an economic concept that aims to replace fossil resources (raw materials and energy sources) with renewable raw materials in as many areas and applications as possible. It covers all industrial and economic sectors that produce, process, handle or use biological resources. The bioeconomy thus offers a great opportunity to tackle global challenges, such as increasing climate change, food and water scarcity or growing environmental pollution, while at the same time strengthening economic development. This Austrian Bioeconomy Strategy is intended to be an essential cornerstone of the Austrian Climate and Energy Strategy and to support the decarbonisation of the economic system.”
 
How are we going to get there?

In order to make the step towards the implementation of the hitherto knowledge-based bioeconomy – involving the relevant stakeholders and using all political instruments –, Austria developed a comprehensive bioeconomy strategy and is now working on an concise action plan to get the implementation going. One of the most important factors will be motivating consumers to buy these new products and to be open to being convinced of the quality and the advantages of bio-based raw materials. We literally need everybody to facilitate the breakthrough of this new climate-friendly economic system.
 
How will the event in Ruka help with your vision and strategy for the future of the BioEconomy
 
As mentioned before, the bioeconomy offers a great opportunity to tackle global challenges with local solutions. Events like the conference in Ruka help us to exchange ideas and really get to know the people implementing best practice project all over the world.
 
Mark Rudnicki is the Executive Director of the Michigan Forest Biomaterials Institute (MiFBI) and is a Professor of Practice in Forest Biomaterials at Michigan Technological University (MTU).  MiFBI is a nonprofit NGO independent of the University. Mark voluntarily directs the Institute in its ambitious endeavor to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Michigan by moving purposefully toward a future that takes responsible yet full advantage of Michigan’s forest resources. He works to engage industry sectors outside of the forest sector, but with strong presence in Michigan, such as Automotive, Chemistry (plastic products), office furniture and biomedical to develop the bioeconomy. Targeted workshops, conferences and other events brings together leaders from industry, State government and Academia to share progress and strategize for Michigan’s bioeconomy.

Mark is also the Coordinator of Industrial Research, Innovation, and Commercialization in the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Tech.  He is developing degree programs in Forest Biomaterials and is involved in various research projects in forest biomaterials.

Please tell us about your vision for the BioEconomy

My view is that bio-based goods and associated services should be concerted to replace the use of fossil fuels as much and as quickly as possible. Stretching the persistence of renewable materials through circularity and their pervasiveness with innovation. My vision concerns the forest bioeconomy in Michigan and the ‘lakes states’ of the US.  My vision is that regions/states develop their bioeconomies based on their natural resources, human resources and industrial capabilities and potentials. Raw materials should typically travel less than finished ones. Value added products are then traded between regions and countries and continents.  My vision of course includes larger perspective that regional efforts will compliment those taking place in agricultural and aquatic systems; and other regions of the US and world.
 

How are we going to get there?
 

A good vision is a good start.  However, a broad inclusive view of the bioeconomy is largely without Federal or State level policy support in the US.  Without government incentives, we resort to finding where industry is willing to engage. We work to engage those interested in at least some aspects of the bioeconomy or circular economy to find common group and ways to move forward.  Working across sectors to build a value chain is and find ways to link interests and sectors.

It seems to me that several States in the US are developing visions and plans more aligned with a European style or interpretation of the bioeconomy rather than the US federal government, whose definition is largely relegated to fuel products from agricultural biorefineries.  For instance, the Mass Timber movement that is taking off in the US is largely federally supported by the US Department of Agriculture, but outside their own view and definitions of a bioeconomy. 

 

How will the event in Ruka help with your vision and strategy for the future of the BioEconomy

 

As the concepts of the bioeconomy evolve and solidify, those with a firm understanding of it and its direction should be able to utilize this insight to execute initiatives that grow the bioeconomy ‘back home’.  I do expect to bring back examples of ongoing efforts and proven success to my state/regions with the intention to spread that success.  The undertaking of the bioeconomy is imperative, yet still early in development, so I again look forward to participating in the collegial setting found at the meeting in Ruka.
 

Click here to see the who else will be at World BioEconomy Forum 2019
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