Services often remain peripheral for the forest-based sector and bioeconomy analysis. Not only is there less data on the immaterial than the material processes, but services are an integral part of the evolving bioeconomy, its enabling technologies, new markets, and the processes currently developing. Services of bioeconomy production Economic analysis tackles the challenge of assessing …

Services often remain peripheral for the forest-based sector and bioeconomy analysis. Not only is there less data on the immaterial than the material processes, but services are an integral part of the evolving bioeconomy, its enabling technologies, new markets, and the processes currently developing.

Services of bioeconomy production

Economic analysis tackles the challenge of assessing bioeconomic services in several ways. As the immaterial part in production of bio-based goods services include, for example, the knowledge-based activities of RDI, intellectual property rights, engineering, consulting and marketing, as well as the necessary support functions of production, such as maintenance for machinery, or support to customers, such as technical services to assist customers to adopt new bio-based solutions1. Share of services within bioeconomy production can be approximated in a similar manner than in other manufacturing and processing industries. Furthermore bioeconomy can be divided for the analysis into primary, secondary and tertiary production sectors. The tertiary production sector includes activities to transform the processed biomass (for example restaurants), trade and transport, as well as the intermediating services for final consumption of the bio-based products2.

Though statistics are not well apt to assess the bioeconomic services, there are estimations that that 400 to 1000 billion € value-added was generated by bioeconomy-related services in the EU, and during 2005–2015 growth in services was on average faster than in the primary production bioeconomy sectors3. Noteworthy, it is not decisive for the analysis whether the biomass is wood or other renewable materials, nor whether these materials are from forests or from other sources. Services specific for the forest-based sector or the forest-based bioeconomy are of different scope.

Forest-related and knowledge-based services

Several natural-environment related services rely on forests. For example, in Finland nature-based tourism, recreation, health and wellbeing services are included in bioeconomy and the forest-based service activities are envisioned in the bioeconomy roadmaps. Traditional service sectors are expected to change due to the new bio-based solutions available, for example, green infrastructures and solutions embedded in built environment, or new technological solutions developed for food, feed, fibre, and fuel.

Knowledge-intensive business services and engineering services are created along with the biomass-related production value chains in climate services and environmental services, but also, in the evolving ecosystem services markets to serve all economic sectors. Totally new services are likely to appear as a response to the changing operating environment. Corporate sustainability reporting, and the targets set for mitigating climate change and biodiversity loss set demands both for manufacturing-processing industries and the service industries. Bioeconomy support services are part of the evolving markets.

Toward a service-based bioeconomy?

Analogous to the development from manufacturing of computers to ICT and algorithmic revolution, in the future biotechnological solutions, life sciences and bio-based processes are likely to create new services and new industries on their own. Instead of services of forest-based bioeconomy, the future outlook needs to be extended to a wider horizon of a service-based bioeconomy, the new ways of organizing operations and the new as-a-service concepts.

Food for thought: How capable are we today to imagine the future bioeconomy services? For example, thinking of forest and environmental data both as a product and raw material for further processing, which opportunities and challenges lie ahead?

References

1 Hetemäki et al. 2017. Leading the way to a European circular bioeconomy strategy. From Science to Policy 5. European Forest Institute. https://doi.org/10.36333/fs05

2 Kuosmanen et al. 2020. How big is the bioeconomy? – Reflections from an economic perspective. Publications Office of the European Union. European Commission, Joint Research Centre. https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2760/144526

3 European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. 2022. European bioeconomy policy: stocktaking and future developments: report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.  Publications Office of the European Union. https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2777/997651

Read more about the topic:

Muench et al. 2022. Towards a green and digital future. EUR 31075 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg. https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2760/977331

All links accessed 22.2.2024

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