Bioeconomy is economic growth and new green jobs. A new evidence comes from Finland. The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA) studied the impact of Metsä Group’s bioproduct mill being constructed in Äänekoski in terms of revenue, value added and employment. The impact of the largest investment to date in the history of Finnish forest industry has significant repercussions in the economy during both the construction and the operation of the mill.
According to ETLA’s calculations, the 1.2 billion euro investment in the bioproduct mill will increase the revenue of companies operating in Finland by around 2.4 billion euro at the construction stage, and it will generate value added that will be directly reflected in economic growth in the amount of nearly 1 billion euro during 2015–2018. The annual employment effects arising from construction during 2016 and 2017 total nearly 4,000 person-years when the effects on the value chain and consumption are included in the calculation. This equals 0.16 per cent of the total employed workforce in Finland.
In terms of Finland’s national economy, an essential thing is that a major part of the machinery and equipment delivered to the mill will be designed and manufactured by companies based in Finland. A large part of the equipment parts and components will also be made in Finland. The effects will spread widely via the suppliers’ value chains.
The largest significance of the bioproduct mill will arise during its production stage over a time span of three decades, during which period, according to ETLA’s calculations, the mill will generate value added of nearly 12 billion euro in Finland. The cumulative employment effects of the production stage will rise to 61,000 person-years. The employment effects will be generated in the value chain of the bioproduct mill’s suppliers and their employees, as the mill’s number of employees will not increase from the present level.
Finland has an important role as a producer of bioproduct raw materials and intermediate products. Two thirds of the new jobs will be created directly in the value chain of the bioproduct mill. Metsä Group will build the world’s first next-generation bioproduct mill in the area of the present pulp mill. The value of the investment is 1.2 billion euro. Scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2017, the mill will produce 1.3 million tonnes of pulp per year. In addition to pulp, the mill will also produce other bioproducts and bioenergy.
The bioproduct mill is a practical implementation of the targets of the Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy. The goal of the bioeconomy is a low-carbon, energy-efficient society based on the use of renewable natural resources and recyclable materials. Finland intends to lead the way in the bioeconomy while also enhancing its competitiveness and economic development, as well as the employment and well-being of its people.
The bioproduct mill concept allows for the integrated manufacture of new bioproducts, the resource-efficient use of the side streams of the industrial process, and the creation of a new type of bioeconomy ecosystem. The bioproduct mill will help Finland achieve its renewable energy goals. The mill will increase the share of renewable energy in Finland by around two percentage points. The bioproduct mill will have an electricity self-sufficiency rate of 240 per cent.