Forest products for advanced biomaterials – every conversation counts
Panel discussion at Scaling Up Conference 2023, featuring Maryam Arefmanesh from AFRY Management Consulting
Topics of interest included market trends in Europe and North America, with Europe currently leading in renewable biofuels and aggressive reduction targets.
The discussion raised interesting points about forests being indispensable carbon capture and sequestration devices. The crucial role of long-lived wood products in securing carbon was emphasised, along with insights about efforts to valorise the main components of trees, such as advanced cellulose materials, hemicellulose and lignin.
Challenges of scaling up and the consequent need for diverse funding sources were also brought up, highlighting the necessity for collaboration and value chain integration. Irrespective of these challenges, panellists saw the potential for advanced materials to become cheaper than conventional unsustainable sources, depending on variables like supply and demand.
The panel provided a detailed analysis of global market trends in the bioindustry, highlighting the growing interest in advanced biofuels and renewable materials in Europe, driven by strict reduction targets and penalties. In contrast, a different approach was observed in North America, with a slower focus on bioproducts and innovation driven by consumer and market interest without significant regulatory pressures. This approach could be described as a carrot approach, while Europe relies more on "the stick".
Another prominent theme was the increasing investments in advanced materials happening in the Nordic countries' forest product sector, particularly in the pulp and paper industry. Panellists also emphasised Canada's lack of a comprehensive bioeconomy strategy, highlighting the need for clear long-term investment plans.
Additionally, the commitment to sustainability and carbon neutrality was emphasised as a key highlight, and the importance of universal language in sustainability goals and metrics was stressed. The focus was on the remarkable achievements in reducing carbon footprints, including the successful development of eco-friendly products. Moreover, the significance of a unified approach towards sustainability was underscored, along with the necessity for clear targets and regulations.
In conclusion, the panel highlighted the importance of advanced forest products in reducing carbon footprints. They emphasised the need for synchronised market demands, regulations, and investments as key drivers of sustainable innovation in the bioeconomy. Collaboration, smart planning and commitment to developing advanced biomaterials were stated to be key to a more sustainable future.
Forest products for advanced materials
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