From October 5th to 8th 2015, a biomass study visit to Finland was organised for the representatives of relevant ministries, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, regional development agencies and international organisations that promote using biomass in Serbia and the region. Finland, the world leader in biomass energy, presented country’s public policies and business practices throughout this tour providing a comprehensive lesson for Serbia – the novice in this area, but a beginner with significant resources.
The biomass study visit, was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in scope of the Project „Reducing Barriers to Accelerate the Development of Biomass Markets in Serbia“, Embassy of Finland in Belgrade and Finpro – the institution which helps Finnish SMEs go international, encourages foreign direct investment in Finland and promotes tourism.
The Finnish national economy is to an exceptional extent based on value added derived from forests that cover 75 % of its territory, while private entities own more than 60%, and about 26 % is owned by the state. In 2010 the forestry sector accounted for 1.9%, the wood-products industry for 0.8%, and the pulp and paper industry for 2% of Finland’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The forest sector has also an indirect effect on other industries, such as transport and mechanical industry. The percentage of total share of forestry, wood products and pulp&paper sectors in GDP is even more than 10% in some regions, such as South – Eastern and Eastern Finland.
In addition to direct added value, the forest sector contributes to the national economy through multiplier effects. Forests, forest bio-products and ecosystem services are estimated to continue to form an important part of Finland’s national economy in preparing to alleviate the impact of climate change and to produce wellbeing services for citizens.
Being a low-energy and carbon-neutral raw material, wood is expected to be much in demand in the production of renewable forest energy, in wood construction and in new bio-economy products. Because Finland’s use of wood is currently far lower than annual growth, Finland’s forests are a carbon sink, removing carbon from the atmosphere equivalent to about half of the carbon dioxide emissions from Finland’s industry per year and binding it into trees and soil.
The study visit began in Helsinki on 5th October 2015. This is when the representatives of Serbian Ministry of Mining and Energy, Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Regional Development Agency Srem, City of Sremska Mitrovica, Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities and UNDP met the representatives of Finnish government at Finpro.