The Bioregions Facility launched its Bioeconomy Perceptions Regional Survey in North Karelia in the period September-November 2021 in the local language, Finnish. The Survey was targeted at different groups within government and industry, to understand how they perceive the bioeconomy, its benefits, and its challenges. More specifically, the Survey aims at achieving six target outcomes: i) understand how business and policy actors perceive the bioeconomy; ii) revisit value chain priorities and related communication efforts; iii) identify barriers & supporting conditions; iv) assess “willingness to engage” with the bioeconomy; v) get insights on how to improve collaboration with government & industry and; vi) find key leverage points for bioeconomy development by identifying overlaps with other policy areas. Here we present six key highlights, one per target outcome, of the Survey in North Karelia.
- Respondents generally perceived bioeconomy as promising, and specifically to address environmental challenges. Respondents see the contribution to energy transition, and to a low-carbon economy, as the most relevant positive impact of the bioeconomy.
- North Karelia business and policy actors suggest that nature-based tourism, bioenergy and wood construction are the bioeconomy sectors with highest potential for growth in North Karelia.
- Limited co-operation among different stakeholders (policy, business, etc.) is perceived as the most important barrier for bioeconomy development. Several supporting conditions were rated in between important and extremely important, namely investment in innovation, availability of scientific information, public procurement programmes and adequate regulation.
- Both government and industry respondents indicated that their sector or department is willing to develop the bioeconomy.
- Government and industry respondents felt very similar about who is responsible for different tasks in moving the bioeconomy in North Karelia forward. Both groups indicated that they are equally responsible for investments in research, development, and innovation and for ensuring positive environmental and social impacts. In addition, both groups emphasised that the government is more responsible in communicating and promoting the bioeconomy among the general public.
- According to respondents, bioeconomy has strong goal alignment with environment related policy areas, especially climate change mitigation and clean energy. Other policy areas with very high overlap with bioeconomy are biodiversity conservation, circular economy, and rural development. Bioeconomy was considered to have less goal alignment with social and economic policy areas.